In perception and cognition, what stands out most prominently. This may involve both bottom-up processes driven by sensory data, and top-down processes driven by individual factors. All things being equal, our attention is drawn to intense stimuli such as bright lights, loud noises, saturated colours, and rapid motion. However, salience effects can also be less universal and physical and more individual and contextual. Top-down cognitive, emotional, and motivational factors include knowledge, task, mood, concerns, needs, values, biases, and expectations. We notice whatever is most relevant to our current frame of reference. Our attention is also drawn to anything that dramatically flouts our expectations. See also field dependence and independence; figure and ground; foregrounding.
Subjects: Media studies