[visionlist] [cvnet] RE: Anne Treisman

Lester Loschky loschky at ksu.edu
Tue Feb 13 09:27:36 -05 2018

I expected a larger outpouring of grief at Anne's passing, and awe
expressed for her achievements.  I haven't said anything on this email
thread yet because I didn't study under her, or with her, and have not
published studies to directly test key tenets of her various theories
(either Attenuation Theory or Feature Integration Theory).  However, I,
like most people who have studied visual attention at any point in the last
40 years have been deeply influenced by her Feature Integration theory in
so many ways it is hard to keep track of them all (e.g., the concepts of
feature versus conjunction search tasks, pre-attentive features being
processed in parallel across the field of view, attention's role in binding
features into objects, illusory conjunctions of features from different
objects, serial processing of tasks requiring binding via attention, etc.,
etc.).  Indeed, her proposed mechanism of attentional binding involving a
master attentional map linking attended locations across other feature
maps, is one of the best and earliest examples of a theory to explain how
we put all the analyzed features that we know exist in various parts of the
brain back together into a perceived whole.  Overall, her theoretical
concepts are the foundation of much of what any student of visual attention
must learn in their first year of graduate school, and then must keep on
working with (and questioning, and debating) thereafter.  Though virtually
all the central claims of Anne's Feature Integration Theory have been
thoroughly debated and/or modified in various subsequent theories, her work
either provides the bedrock foundation for those theories, or the essential
point of departure.  Thus, Anne's Feature Integration Theory is essential
to discussing visual attention as we think about it, almost 40 years after
she proposed it.  Only a very few others in our field have achieved that
sort of impact, making her a giant in the field of Cognitive Psychology and
Cognitive Science.  All of this, of course, goes without saying, as her
 "About 43,800 results" (as of 13/02/2018) on Google Scholar attest.  But I
just thought a broader statement of awe of her impact and gratitude for her
contributions from someone with no direct connection to her needed to be


Les Loschky

On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 9:57 PM, Oliver Braddick <
oliver.braddick at psy.ox.ac.uk> wrote:

> We were so sad to hear that Anne Treisman had passed away. She inspired us
> and many others with her combination of simple but subtle experiments and
> her modestly presented but bold advances in theory.  Vision people may not
> be aware that she had already (in her PhD work)  transformed thinking about
> auditory attention before she turned her scientific spotlight to visual
> attention.   Those she impressed included Francis Crick who frequently
> referred to Anne’s ideas (“What does SHE think?”) in the brief sabbatical
> we spent with him, running visual search psychophysics experiments in the
> Salk. She was an outstanding role model for women scientists the world
> over, with a thoughtful, generous and kind approach to everyone in the
> fields of attention and perception.
> Oliver Braddick FMedSci FBA
>                                        Janette Atkinson FMedSci FBA
> -----------------------------------------------------
>  ----------------------------------------------
> Emeritus Professor of Psychology
>                                   UCL Emeritus Professor of Psychology &
> Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
>                   Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience,
> South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3UD, UK
>                           Visiting Professor, University of Oxford
>                 *                                            Visual
> Development Unit, London and Oxford*
> oliver.braddick at psy.ox.ac.uk
>                                          j.atkinson at ucl.ac.uk
> *From:* cvnet-bounces at lawton.ewind.com [mailto:cvnet-bounces at lawton.
> ewind.com] *On Behalf Of *Wolfe, Jeremy M.,Ph.D.
> *Sent:* 10 February 2018 23:21
> *To:* cvnet at mail.ewind.com
> *Subject:* [cvnet] Anne Treisman
> I am very sorry to report that Anne Treisman died last night at age 82.
> She had been in declining health for the past few years. Anne was a
> towering figure in the field of attention. Her early work shaped our
> understanding of auditory attention with her dichotic listening experiments
> and Attenuation Theory. When she turned to visual attention, her visual
> search experiments and her seminal Feature Integration Theory propelled
> decades of research. She was both a rigorous and generous colleague and
> mentor. She will be greatly missed. We offer our sympathy to her husband,
> Daniel Kahneman and to her children and grandchildren. A fuller account of
> her life will follow in a few days.
> Jeremy Wolfe
> Jeremy M Wolfe, PhD
> Professor of Ophthalmology & Radiology,
> Harvard Medical School
> Visual Attention Lab
> Department of Surgery
> Brigham & Women's Hospital
> 64 Sidney St. Suite. 170
> Cambridge, MA  02139-4170
> Phone:  617-768-8818 <(617)%20768-8818>
> Fax:  617-768-8816 <(617)%20768-8816>
> Best email: jwolfe@ <jwolfe at partners.org>bwh.harvard.edu
> Backup: jeremywolfe0131 at gmail.com
> URL: search.bwh.harvard.edu
> Editor:* Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications (CRPI)*
> CRPI is the new open access, peer-reviewed journal of the Psychonomics
> Society
> Do you do "use-inspired, basic research" in Cognition? That is what we
> publish.
> http://www.cognitiveresearchjournal.springeropen.com/
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Lester Loschky
Associate Director, Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity
Department of Psychological Sciences
471 Bluemont Hall
1114 Mid-Campus Dr North
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS  66506-5302
email: loschky at ksu.edu
research page: https://www.k-state.edu/psych/research/loschkylester.html
lab page: http://www.k-state.edu/psych/vcl/index.html
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