George A. Alvarez

George A. Alvarez

George A. Alvarez


The human visual system can only select and keep track of a small handful of objects at any given moment. Yet, for the most part, people successfully navigate through busy intersections, find items of interest such as food or friends in a crowd, and understand complex social situations – all with seemingly little effort. This suggests that the human visual system employs efficient strategies to manage its limited resources. My research is aimed at understanding how the the mind and brain optimizes the use of its limited resources. My projects on this topic fall into the following four categories: attentional selection, memory storage, fluid resource allocation, and efficient coding. For more information on these projects, please visit my website.

Courses Taught : 1901 Research Methods
Publications: Alvarez, G. A., & Cavanagh, P. (2004). The capacity of visual short-term memory is set both by visual information load and by number of objects. Psychological Science15(2), 106-111. 

Alvarez, G. A., & Cavanagh, P. (2005). Independent resources for attentional tracking in the left and right visual hemifields. Psychological Science, 16(8), 637-643. 

Alvarez, G. A., & Scholl, B. J. (2005). How does attention select and track spatially extended objects? New effects of attentional concentration and amplification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General134(4), 461-476. 

Carlson, T. A., Alvarez, G. A., & Cavanagh, P. (2007). Quadrantic deficit reveals anatomical constraints in attentional tracking. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 104(33), 13496-13500. 

Alvarez, G. A., & Franconeri, S. L. (2007). How many objects can you attentively track?: Evidence for a resource-limited tracking mechanism. Journal of Vision7(13):14, 1-10., doi:10.1167/7.13/14. 

Alvarez, G. A., & Oliva, A. (2008). The representation of simple ensemble features outside the focus of attention. Psychological Science19(4), 392-398. 

Brady, T. F., Konkle, T., Alvarez, G. A., Oliva, A. (2008). Visual long-term memory has a massive storage capacity for object details. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA105(38), 14325-14329.

Contact Information

William James Hall 760, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617-495-5225