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Article

What is a preattentive feature?

Current Opinion in Psychology. 2019. Vol. 29. P. 19-26.
Wolfe J. M., Utochkin I. S.

The concept of a preattentive feature has been central to vision and attention research for about half a century. A preattentive feature is a feature that guides attention in visual search and that cannot be decomposed into simpler features. While that definition seems straightforward, there is no simple diagnostic test that infallibly identifies a preattentive feature. This paper briefly reviews the criteria that have been proposed and illustrates some of the difficulties of definition.