We present a biologically plausible model of an attentional mechanism for forming position- and scale-invariant representations of objects in the visual world. The model relies on a set of control neurons to dynamically modify the synaptic strengths of intracortical connections so that information from a windowed region of primary visual cortex (V1) is selectively routed to higher cortical areas. Local spatial relationships (i.e., topography) within the attentional window are preserved as information is routed through the cortex. This enables attended objects to be represented in higher cortical areas within an object-centered reference frame that is position and scale invariant. We hypothesize that the pulvinar may provide the control signals for routing information through the cortex. The dynamics of the control neurons are governed by simple differential equations that could be realized by neurobiologically plausible circuits. In preattentive mode, the control neurons receive their input from a low-level “saliency map” representing potentially interesting regions of a scene. During the pattern recognition phase, control neurons are driven by the interaction between top-down (memory) and bottom-up (retinal input) sources. The model respects key neurophysiological, neuroanatomical, and psychophysical data relating to attention, and it makes a variety of experimentally testable predictions.