Steven Yantis


Memorial Fund

June 23, 2014

Dear Krieger School Faculty and Staff,

I’m sorry that I have more sad news to share with you. Last Friday, June 20, our esteemed colleague Steven Yantis passed away after a two-year struggle with cancer. Steve was a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and also held appointments in the Department of Cognitive Science, the Zanvyl Krieger Mind-Brain Institute, and the Solomon Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the School of Medicine.

Steve was a brilliant scientist, a wonderful friend and colleague, and a beloved teacher and mentor. He will be missed by all of us at Johns Hopkins as well as the worldwide scientific community.

Steve was trained as a cognitive psychologist at the University of Michigan and came to Johns Hopkins in 1986 after doing a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. His early research was focused on visual attention and perception, and he is well-known for his pioneering studies on the capture of visual attention by sudden onsets.

Around 2000, Steve began to focus more on the neural mechanisms of attention and perception and using functional magnetic resonance imaging to supplement behavioral methods. From this line of research, he is perhaps best known for his work on the neural mechanisms involved in switching attention from one task or one class of stimulus to another.

Steve published more than 100 scientific papers, many of which were marked by strikingly clever and elegant experimental designs. He also edited two books on perception and wrote a textbook, Sensation and Perception, which was published this year. Steve was recognized with the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences, and the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology by the American Psychology Association.

Professor Susan Courtney, chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, has told me how much Steve’s loss will felt by everyone who knew him. "Steve Yantis was the bedrock of the department," she noted, "at once gentle and strong. He was always the voice of reason in any debate, because he knew how to identify the most important elements, in a scientific data set, in a faculty candidate, or in life.”

Our condolences go out to Steve’s wife, Kathleen, their daughters Caitlyn and Alyson, stepson Ken, and son-in-law Jason.


Katherine Newman, Dean

Steven Yantis' Biography

I received my B.S. in Psychology from the University of Washington in 1978 where I worked in the picture memory laboratory of Geoffrey Loftus and later in the individual differences laboratory of Earl (Buz) Hunt as a programmer and research assistant. After graduating, I worked full time in Hunt's lab for two years.

In 1980, I started graduate school at the University of Michigan's Department of Psychology. There I worked with John Jonides on visual perception and attention, and with David E. Meyer using response time to investigate visual information processing architectures. I received my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in 1985. I spent the 1985-86 academic year as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.

In 1986, I joined the Department of Psychology at Johns Hopkins as an Assistant Professor. In 1992, I was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 1995 to Professor. In 1994, I was awarded the Early Career Award by the American Psychological Association, and in 1996 I received the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences. I am a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.

My research interests focus on visual selective attention and cognitive control. My lab group uses functional MRI and behavioral methods to investigate the voluntary control of visual attention and task switching.

Members of my laboratory conduct experiments to investigate human visual attention and cognitive control. We are interested how goals, expectations, and intentions can modulate sensory input (via acts of selective attention) and how they flexibly reconfigure perceptual, cognitive, and response mechanisms to carry out both simple and complex tasks. We measure behavior (using response time and accuracy) and brain activity (using fMRI in the F. M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging) to uncover the psychological and neural basis of attention and cognitive control. We are part of the JHU Vision Sciences Group.

We have recently been investigating cognitive control during task switching using multivoxel pattern classification. By analyzing multvariate patterns of activity as they change over time, we can track changes not just in the magnitude of the BOLD signal, but in dynamically unfolding patterns of brain activity. We've also been exploring how reward-related stimuli can drive attention involuntarily.

Graduate students and postdocs in my lab receive training in a variety of methods, including the use of a computer-based experimental psychology laboratory, and the design, implementation, and analysis of fMRI studies of the human visual system. Together with the other core faculty actively using fMRI in their research, I offer frequent courses, seminars, and journal clubs that provide a lively research environment for learning about theory and methods in cognitive neuroscience. Students in my laboratory also benefit from advanced coursework and interdisciplinary research experience in collaborating laboratories in the departments of Cognitive Science and Neuroscience, in the Center for Imaging Science, and in the Zanvyl Krieger Mind-Brain Institute at JHU.

Yantis, S. (2014). Sensation and Perception. New York: Worth Publishers.

Anderson, B.A., Laurent, P.A., & Yantis, S. (2013). Reward predictions bias attentional selection. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7:262.

Anderson, B.A. & Yantis, S. (2013). Persistence of value-driven attentional capture. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 39, 6-9.

Anderson, B.A. & Yantis, S. (2012). Value-driven attentional and oculomotor capture during goal-directed, naturalistic viewing. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 74, 1644-1653.

Greenberg, A.S., Verstynen, T., Chiu, Y.-C., Yantis, S., Schneider, W., & Behrmann, M. (2012). Visuotopic cortical connectivity underlying attention revealed with white-matter tractography. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 2773-2782.

Anderson, B.A., Laurent, P.A., & Yantis, S. (2012). Generalization of value-based attentional priority. Visual Cognition, 20, 647-658.

Yantis, S., Anderson, B.A., Wampler, E.K., & Laurent, P.A. (in press). Reward and attentional control in visual search. In M. Todd & J. Flowers (Eds.) Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (Vol. 59). The Influence of Attention, Learning, and Motivation on Visual Search. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Chiu, Y.-C., Esterman, M., Gmeindl, L., & Yantis, S. (2012). Tracking cognitive fluctuation with the multivoxel pattern time course (MVP-TC). Neuropsychologia, 50, 479-486. [Special Issue on Multivariate Pattern Analysis and Cognitive Theories].

Anderson, B.A., Laurent, P.A., & Yantis, S. (2011). Value-driven attentional capture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 108, 10367-10371.

Fleuret, F., Li, T., Dubout, C., Wampler, E.K., Yantis, S., & Geman, D. (2011).Comparing machines and humans on a visual categorization test. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 108, 17621-17625.

Anderson, B.A., Laurent, P.A., & Yantis, S. (2011). Learned value magnifies salience-based attentional capture. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27926. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027926

Moher, J., Abrams, J., Egeth, H.E., Yantis, S. & Stuphorn, V. (2011). Trial-by-trial adjustments of top-down set modulate oculomotor capture. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 897-903.

Tamber-Rosenau, B.J., Esterman, M., Chiu, Y.-C., & Yantis, S. (2011). Cortical mechanisms of cognitive control for shifting attention in vision and working memory. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 2905-2919.

Chiu, Y.-C., Esterman, M., Rosen, H., & Yantis, S. (2011). Decoding task-based attentional modulation during face categorization. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 1198-1204.

Greenberg, A. S., Esterman, M., Serences, J. T., Wilson, D. E., & Yantis, S. (2010). Control of spatial and feature-based attention in frontoparietal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 14330-14339.

Kelley, T. & Yantis, S. (2010). Neural correlates of learning to attend. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4:216. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00216

Esterman, M., Rosenau, B.J., Chiu, Y.-C., & Yantis, S. (2010). Avoiding non-independence in fMRI data analysis: Leave one subject out. NeuroImage, 50, 572-576.

Esterman, M. & Yantis, S. (2010). Perceptual expectation modulates category-selective cortical activity. Cerebral Cortex, 20, 1245-1253.

Esterman, M., Chiu, Y.-C., Tamber-Rosenau, & Yantis, S. (2009). Decoding cognitive control in human parietal cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106, 17974-17979.

Kelley, T. & Yantis, S. (2009). Learning to attend: Effects of practice on information selection. Journal of Vision, 9 (7):16, 1-18.

Chiu, Y.-C., & Yantis, S. (2009). A domain-independent source of cognitive control for task sets: Shifting spatial attention and switching categorization rules. Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 3930-3938.

Yantis, S. (2008). Neural basis of selective attention: Cortical sources and targets of attentional modulation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 86-90.

Kelley, T., Serences, J. T., Giesbrecht, G., & Yantis, S. (2008). Cortical mechanisms for shifting and holding visuospatial attention. Cerebral Cortex, 18, 114-125.

Dilks, D. D., Serences, J.T., Rosenau, B.J., Yantis, S., & McCloskey, M. (2007). Human adult cortical reorganization and consequent visual distortion. Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 9585-9594.

Serences, J. T. & Yantis, S. (2007). Representation of attentional priority in human occipital, parietal, and frontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 17, 284-293.

Qiu, A., Rosenau, B.J., Greenberg, A.S., Barta, P., Yantis, S., Miller, M.I. (2006).Estimating linear cortical magnification in human primary visual cortex via dynamic programming. NeuroImage, 31, 125-138.

Rauschenberger, R., Liu, T., Slotnick, S.D., & Yantis, S. (2006). Temporally unfolding neural representation of pictorial occlusion. Psychological Science, 17, 358-364.

Shomstein, S. & Yantis, S. (2006). Parietal cortex mediates voluntary control of spatial and nonspatial auditory attention. Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 435-439.

Serences, J.T. & Yantis, S. (2006). Selective visual attention and perceptual coherence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10, 38-45.

Rauschenberger, R., & Yantis, S. (2006). Perceptual encoding efficiency in visual search. Journal of Experimental Psycology: General, 135, 116-131.

Lu, H., Basso, G., Serences, J.T., Yantis, S., Golay, X., & van Zijl, P.C.M. (2005). Retinotopic mapping in human visual cortex using vascular-space-occupancy (VASO) dependent fMRI. NeuroReport, 16, 1635-1640.

Yantis, S. (2005). How salient stimuli win the battle for awareness. Nature Neuroscience, 8, 975-977.

Serences, J., Liu, T., & Yantis, S. (2005). Parietal mechanisms of switching and maintaining attention to locations, objects, and features. In L. Itti, G. Rees, & J. Tsotsos (Eds.) Neurobiology of Attention (pp. 35-41). New York: Academic Press.

Serences, J.T., Shomstein, S., Leber, A., Golay, X., Egeth, H., & Yantis, S. (2005). Coordination of voluntary and stimulus-driven attentional control in human cortex. Psychological Science, 16, 114-122.

Slotnick, S.D. & Yantis, S. (2005). Common neural substrates for the control and effects of visual attention and perceptual bistability. Cognitive Brain Research, 24, 97-108 .

Shomstein, S., & Yantis, S. (2004). Control of attention shifts between vision and audition in human cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 24, 10702-10706.

Serences, J., Yantis, S., Culberson, A., & Awh, E. (2004). Preparatory activity in visual cortex indexes distractor suppression during covert spatial orienting. Journal of Neurophysiology, 92, 3538-3545.

Connor, C. E., Egeth, H. E., & Yantis, S. (2004). Visual attention: Bottom-up vs. top-down. Current Biology, 14, 850-852.

Serences, J.T., Schwarzbach, J., Courtney, S. M., Golay, X., & Yantis, S. (2004). Control of object-based attention in human cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 14, 1346-1357.

Sunness, J.S., Liu, T., & Yantis, S. (2004). Retinotopic mapping of the visual cortex using fMRI in a patient with central scotomas from atrophic macular degeneration. Ophthalmology, 111, 1595-1598.

Shomstein, S., & Yantis, S. (2004). Configural and contextual prioritization in object-based attention. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11, 247-253.

Liu, T., Slotnick, S.D., & Yantis, S. (2004). Human MT+ mediates perceptual filling-in during apparent motion. Neuroimage, 21, 1772-1780.

Liu, T., Slotnick, S., Serences, J., & Yantis, S. (2003). Cortical mechanisms of feature-based attentional control. Cerebral Cortex, 13, 1334-1343.

Slotnick, S.D., Schwarzbach, J., and Yantis, S. (2003) Attentional inhibition of visual processing in human striate and extrastriate cortex. NeuroImage, 19, 1602-1611.

Yantis, S., & Serences, J. (2003). Neural mechanisms of space-based and object based attentional control. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 13, 187-193 .

Yantis, S. (2003). To see is to attend. Science, 299, 54-56.

Slotnick, S., & Yantis, S. (2003). Efficient acquisition of human retinotopic maps. Human Brain Mapping, 18, 22-29.

Yantis, S., Schwarzbach, J., Serences, J., Carlson, R., Steinmetz, M.A., Pekar, J.J., & Courtney, S. (2002). Transient neural activity in human parietal cortex during spatial attention shifts. Nature Neuroscience, 5, 995-1002.

Yantis, S. (Vol. Ed.) & Pashler, H. (Series Ed.) (2002). Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology, 3e. Volume 1: Sensation and Perception. New York: Wiley.

Shomstein, S., & Yantis, S. (2002). Object-based attention: Sensory modulation or priority setting? Perception & Psychophysics, 64, 41-51.

Enns, J. T., Austen, E., Di Lollo, V., Rauschenberger, R., & Yantis, S. (2001).New objects dominate luminance transients in attentional capture. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 27, 1287-1302.

Rauschenberger, R., & Yantis, S. (2001). Attentional capture by globally-defined objects. Perception & Psychophysics, 63, 1250-1261.

Rauschenberger, R., & Yantis, S. (2001). Masking unveils pre-amodal completion representation in visual search. Nature, 410, 369-372.

Yantis, S. (Ed.). (2000). Visual Perception: Essential Readings. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Yantis, S. (2000). Goal-directed and stimulus-driven determinants of attentional control. In S. Monsell & J. Driver (Eds.), Attention and Performance (Vol 18, pp. 73-103). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Di Lollo, V., Enns, J. T., Yantis, S., & Dechief, L.G. (2000). Response latencies to the onset and offset of visual stimuli. Perception & Psychophysics, 62, 218-225.

Yantis, S., & Egeth, H. E. (1999). On the distinction between visual salience and stimulus-driven attentional capture. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 25, 661-676.

Yantis, S. (1999). Seeing is attending. [Review of A. Mack & I. Rock,Inattentional blindness.] Contemporary Psychology, 44, 314-316.

Yantis, S. (1998). Objects, attention, and perceptual experience. In R. Wright (Ed.), Visual Attention. (pp. 187-214). New York: Oxford University Press.

Yantis, S. (1998). How the brain holds our attention [Review of R. Parasuraman (Ed.), The attentive brain]. Nature, 395, 857-858

Yantis, S., & Nakama, T. (1998). Visual interactions in the path of apparent motion. Nature Neuroscience, 1, 508-512.

Moore, C., Yantis, S., & Vaughan, B. (1998). Object-based visual selection: Evidence from perceptual completion. Psychological Science, 9, 104-110.

Yantis, S. (1998). Control of visual attention. In H. Pashler (Ed.), Attention (pp. 223-256). London: Psychology Press.

Egeth, H. E., & Yantis, S. (1997). Visual attention: Control, representation, and time course. Annual Review of Psychology, 48, 269-297.

Kramer, P., & Yantis, S. (1997). Perceptual grouping in space and time: Evidence from the Ternus display. Perception & Psychophysics, 59, 87-99.

Yantis, S., & Jonides, J. (1996). Attentional capture by abrupt visual onsets: New perceptual objects or visual masking? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 22, 1505-1513.

Yantis, S. (1996). Attentional capture in vision. In A. Kramer, M. Coles, & G. Logan (Eds.), Converging operations in the study of selective visual attention(pp. 45-76). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Yantis, S. (1995). Perceived continuity of occluded visual objects. Psychological Science, 6, 182-186.

Johnson, D. N., & Yantis, S. (1995). Allocating visual attention: Tests of a two-process model. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 21, 1376-1390.

McCloskey, M., Rapp, B., Yantis, S., Rubin, G., Bacon, W. F., Dagnelie, G., Gordon, B., Aliminosa, D., Boatman, D., Badecker, W., Johnson, D. N., Tusa, R. J., Reighn, E. (1995). A developmental deficit in localizing objects from vision. Psychological Science, 6,112-117.

Yantis, S. (1994). Attention. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Intelligence (Vol. 1, pp. 146-152). New York: MacMillan Publishing Co.

Yantis, S., & Gibson, B. S. (1994). Object continuity in motion perception and attention. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 48, 182-204.

Hillstrom, A. P., & Yantis, S. (1994). Visual motion and attentional capture. Perception & Psychophysics, 55, 399-411.

Yantis, S., & Hillstrom, A. P. (1994). Stimulus-driven attentional capture: Evidence from equiluminant visual objects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 20, 95-107.

Yantis, S. (1993). Stimulus-driven attentional capture. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2, 156-161.

Mordkoff, J. T., & Yantis, S. (1993). Dividing attention between color and shape: Evidence of coactivation. Perception & Psychophysics, 53, 357-366.

Yantis, S. (1993). Stimulus-driven attentional capture and attentional control settings. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 19, 676-681.

Yantis, S. (1992). Multielement visual tracking: Attention and perceptual organization. Cognitive Psychology, 24, 295-340. [3.5MB]

Yantis, S. (1992). Developmental perspectives on attention [Review of The development of attention: Research and Theory, Edited by J. T. Enns].Contemporary Psychology, 37, 347-348.

Remington, R., Johnston, J. C., & Yantis, S. (1992). Attentional capture by abrupt onsets. Perception & Psychophysics, 51, 279-290.

Yantis, S., Meyer, D.E., & Smith, J. E. K. (1991). Analyses of multinomial mixture distributions: New tests for stochastic models of cognition and action. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 350-374.

Yantis, S., & Jones, E. (1991).Mechanisms of attentional selection: Temporally-modulated priority tags. Perception & Psychophysics, 50, 166-178.

Mordkoff, J.T. & Yantis, S. (1991). An interactive race model of divided attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 17, 520-538.

Yantis, S., & Johnson, D. N. (1990). Mechanisms of attentional priority. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 16, 812-825.

Mordkoff, J.T., Yantis, S., & Egeth, H.E. (1990). Detecting conjunctions of color and form in parallel. Perception & Psychophysics, 48, 157-168.

Yantis, S. & Johnston, J.C. (1990). On the locus of visual selection: Evidence from focused attention tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 16, 135-149.

Yantis, S. & Jonides, J. (1990). Abrupt visual onsets and selective attention: Voluntary vs. automatic allocation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 16, 121-134.

Meyer, D.E., Osman, A.M., Irwin, D.E., & Yantis, S. (1988). Modern mental chronometry. Biological Psychology, 26, 3-67.

Yantis, S. & Meyer, D.E. (1988). Dynamics of activation in semantic and episodic memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 117, 130-147.

Yantis, S. (1988).On analog movements of visual attention. Perception & Psychophysics, 43, 203-206.

Jonides, J. & Yantis, S. (1988). Uniqueness of abrupt visual onset in capturing attention. Perception & Psychophysics, 43, 346-354.

Yantis, S. (1985). Dynamics of retrieval from lexical memory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Meyer, D. E., Yantis, S., Osman, A., & Smith, J. E. K. (1985). Temporal properties of human information processing: Tests of discrete versus continuous models. Cognitive Psychology, 17, 445-518.

Davidson, A. R., Yantis, S., Norwood, M., & Montano, D. E. (1985). Amount of information about the attitude object and attitude-behavior consistency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1184-1198.

Yantis, S. & Jonides, J. (1984). Abrupt visual onsets and selective attention: Evidence from visual search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 10, 601-621.

Goldberg, J. H., Meyer, D. E., Yantis, S., & Langolf, G. D. (1984). Temporal processing during the mental rotation of misoriented letters. In A. Mital (Ed.),Trends in ergonomics/human factors I (pp. 227-232). Amsterdam: North-Holland.

Jonides, J. & Yantis, S. (1984). [Review of Spoehr & Lehmkuhle, Visual information processing]. American Journal of Psychology, 97, 134-137.

Meyer, D. E., Yantis, S., Osman, A., & Smith, J. E. K. (1984). Discrete versus continuous models of response preparation: A reaction time analysis. In S. Kornblum & J. Requin (Eds.), Preparatory states and processes (pp. 69-94). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Jonides, J., Irwin, D. E., & Yantis, S. (1983). Failure to integrate information from successive fixations. Science, 222, 188.

Irwin, D. E., Yantis, S., & Jonides, J. (1983). Evidence against visual integration across saccadic eye movements. Perception & Psychophysics, 34, 49-57.

Lansman, M., Donaldson, G, Hunt, E., & Yantis, S. (1982). Ability factors and cognitive processes. Intelligence, 4, 347-386.

Jonides, J., Irwin, D. E., & Yantis, S. (1982). Integrating visual information from successive fixations. Science, 215, 192-194.

This fund was established in memory of Dr. Steven Yantis, former faculty and chair of the department, who was known for his work in visual attention and neural mechanisms of attention and perception. Funds will be utilized to support faculty and graduate students who continue research in these areas. Donations to the Yantis Memorial Fund may be made through the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Giving page by selecting “other” and indicating the Yantis Memorial Fund to designate this account.