The seemingly effortless ability to perceive meaningful objects in an integrated scene actually depends on complex visual processes. The ‘binding problem’ concerns the way in which we select and integrate the separate features of objects in the correct combinations. Experiments suggest that attention plays a central role in solving this problem. Some neurological patients show a dramatic breakdown in the ability to see several objects; their deficits suggest a role for the parietal cortex in the binding process. However, indirect measures of priming and interference suggest that more information may be implicitly available than we can consciously access.