The speed of visual attention

What time is it?

Thomas A. Carlson*, Hinze Hogendoorn, Frans A J Verstraten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


The time course of visual attention has been studied using a number of experimental designs. Here, we present a refined version of a technique first used by Wundt more than a century ago and demonstrate it as an effective method to measure the speed of visual attention. The method generates precise and robust data quickly and is flexible enough to be adapted into a variety of established paradigms. In the experiment, participants view an array of moving clocks and report the time on a target clock, which was indicated by a peripheral or central cue. We found latencies of around 140 ms when the target was cued peripherally and latencies of around 240 ms when the target was cued centrally. These values are in good agreement with previous literature and support the validity of the technique as a way to measure the speed of visual attention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)6-6
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Complication clock
  • Speed of attention
  • Visual attention

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    Carlson, T. A., Hogendoorn, H., & Verstraten, F. A. J. (2006). The speed of visual attention: What time is it? Journal of Vision, 6(12), 6-6. [6].