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Each time we open our eyes, we are confronted with an overwhelming amount of information. Despite this, we have the clear impression of understanding what we see. This requires selecting relevant information out of the irrelevant noise. Attention is what turns looking into seeing, allowing us to select a certain location or aspect of the visual scene and to prioritize its processing. Such selection is necessary because the limits on our capacity to absorb visual information are severe.

They may be imposed by the fact that there is a fixed amount of overall energy consumption available to the brain, and by the high-energy cost of the neuronal activity involved in cortical computation. Attention is crucial in optimizing the use of the system's limited resources, by ...

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