Ten simple rules to study distractor suppression

Malte Wöstmann, Viola S Störmer, Jonas Obleser, Douglas A Addleman, Søren K Andersen, Nicholas Gaspelin, Joy J Geng, Steven J Luck, MaryAnn P Noonan, Heleen A Slagter, Jan Theeuwes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Distractor suppression refers to the ability to filter out distracting and task-irrelevant information. Distractor suppression is essential for survival and considered a key aspect of selective attention. Despite the recent and rapidly evolving literature on distractor suppression, we still know little about how the brain suppresses distracting information. What limits progress is that we lack mutually agreed upon principles of how to study the neural basis of distractor suppression and its manifestation in behavior. Here, we offer ten simple rules that we believe are fundamental when investigating distractor suppression. We provide guidelines on how to design conclusive experiments on distractor suppression (Rules 1-3), discuss different types of distractor suppression that need to be distinguished (Rules 4-6), and provide an overview of models of distractor suppression and considerations of how to evaluate distractor suppression statistically (Rules 7-10). Together, these rules provide a concise and comprehensive synopsis of promising advances in the field of distractor suppression. Following these rules will propel research on distractor suppression in important ways, not only by highlighting prominent issues to both new and more advanced researchers in the field, but also by facilitating communication between sub-disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102269
Number of pages13
JournalProgress in neurobiology
Early online date12 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


  • Attention
  • Brain
  • Humans

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