Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to simulate the effects of highly circumscribed brain damage permanently present in some neuropsychological patients, by reversibly disrupting the normal functioning of the cortical area to which it is applied. By using TMS we attempted to recreate deficits similar to those reported in a motion–blind patient and to assess the specificity of deficits when TMS is applied over human area V5. We used six visual search tasks and showed that subjects were impaired in a motion but not a form ‘pop–out’ task when TMS was applied over V5. When motion was present, but irrelevant, or when attention to colour and form were required, TMS applied to V5 enhanced performance. When attention to motion was required in a motion––form conjunction search task, irrespective of whether the target was moving or stationary, TMS disrupted performance. These data suggest that attention to different visual attributes involves mutual inhibition between different extrastriate visual areas.