Attentional spotlight is a method for describing how visual attention operates in our visual field. This conceptualizes how we process visual stimuli and how attention is not necessarily where our eyes are pointed and focused. Visual attention operates like a spotlight - it roves around our field of vision and registers things of importance. Visual cues will influence and catch the attention even if we are not physically focused on the cue. This explains how our attention can be caught by stimuli in our peripheral field of vision. Although we are not specifically focusing on something our attention can still register the visual cues. This attentional spotlight also explains how our unconscious can take control of our field of vision.
For instance, if there is a sense of danger in our periphery it 'takes over' the attentional focus as if something is being thrown at you from your extreme left.