Beyond guidance: It’s time to focus on the consequences of attentional capture

Alon Zivony*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attentional capture is assumed to automatically trigger attentional engagement, which gates working memory access. However, recent studies show that engagement is not a necessary outcome of capture and can be disrupted by manipulations that leave capture intact. In this commentary, I suggest that these findings have important implications for the capture debate. Mainly, they suggest that capture may have different consequences under different conditions. Moreover, they caution against interpreting the absence of evidence for engagement as evidence that capture did not occur. Finally, they open the door to future investigation about factors that determine and modulate engagement, independently from capture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-559
Number of pages4
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Attentional capture
  • attentional blink
  • attentional engagement
  • spatial cuing


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