Visual Cognition Special Issue Call for Papers

Dealing with Distractors in Visual Search

Visual Cognition

Many dominant models and theories of visual attention, typically investigated through the lens of visual search, emphasize the role of behavioral goals in directing attention. These goals often come in the form of a target template that prioritizes behaviorally relevant target objects. But, the visual world is filled with objects, many of which are not relevant to our current goals. In order for visual search to proceed efficiently, these irrelevant objects must be rejected. How does attention deal with these non-target distractors?

This special issue of Visual Cognition invites submissions that speak to the many answers to this question. For example, recent work on distractor rejection has focused on the possible role of inhibitory mechanisms, in which salient distractors are suppressed. Other work has investigated proactive control over distraction through a ‘template for rejection’ or with an explicit cue as to what to ignore during an upcoming search.

We welcome submissions that speak broadly to these issues. We anticipate that contributions will address many aspects of dealing with distractors, including but not limited to:

  • The role of learning and experience on distractor rejection
  • Working memory templates for distractor rejection
  • Target-distractor relationships in visual search
  • Anticipatory or proactive distractor rejection
  • The neural mechanisms of distractor rejection, such as the PD ERP component

Submission Instructions

Both empirical papers and integrative reviews will be considered. All submissions will be peer reviewed and will be expected to meet the high editorial standards of regular submissions to Visual Cognition. Manuscripts should be submitted using the electronic submission portal ( on or before July 1, 2018.

Please select the appropriate special issue as manuscript type when submitting, and please state in a cover letter that the paper should be considered for the special issue on ‘dealing with distractors.’ The deadline is firm, because our intention is to publish the special issue within nine months after the submission deadline. Revisions invited by the guest editors will be expected within two months of receipt of the editorial decision letter and reviews

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Shaun Vecera
  • Guest Editor: Nick Gaspelin
  • Guest Associate Editor: Chris Olivers