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5.1a. Attention (Attention on PhilPapers)

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5.1a.1 Attention and Consciousness

Arvidson, P. Sven (2008). Attentional capture and attentional character. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (4).   (Google)
Abstract: Attentional character is a way of thinking about what is relevant in a human life, what is meaningful and how it becomes so. This paper introduces the concept of attentional character through a redefinition of attentional capture as achievement. It looks freshly at the attentional capture debate in the current cognitive sciences literature through the lens of Aron Gurwitsch’s gestalt-phenomenology. Attentional character is defined as an initially limited capacity for attending in a given environment and is located within the sphere of attention, primarily as an irrelevant centering in attending
Arvidson, P. Sven (2003). A lexicon of attention: From cognitive science to phenomenology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (2):99-132.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Arvidson, P. Sven (1998). Bringing context into focus: Parallels in the psychology of attention and the philosophy of science. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 29:50-91.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Arvidson, P. Sven (2004). Experimental evidence for three dimensions of attention. In Lester Embree (ed.), GurwitschS Relevancy for Cognitive Science. Springer.   (Google)
Arvidson, P. Sven (1997). Looking intuit: A phenomenological analysis of intuition and attention. In R. Davis-Floyd & P. Sven Arvidson (eds.), Intuition: The Inside Story. Routledge.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Arvidson, P. Sven (1996). Toward a phenomenology of attention. Human Studies 19 (1):71-84.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: There is a considerable amount of research being done on attention by cognitive psychologists. I claim that in the process of measuring and mapping consciousness, these researchers have missed important phenomenological findings. After a synopsis and illustration of the nature of attention as described by Aron Gurwitsch, I critique the assumptions of current psychological research on this topic. Included is discussion of the metaphor of attention as a beam or spotlight, the concept of selective attention as the standard accomplishment, and the cognitive bestowal of organization on otherwise unorganized data. It is concluded that cognitive psychologists and others working on attention can benefit from Gurwitsch's work, and that a credible account of attention is crucial to the success of any comprehensive statement on the nature of consciousness
Arvidson, P. Sven (1992). The field of consciousness: James and Gurwitsch. Transactions of the C. S. Peirce Society 28 (4):833-856.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Arvidson, P. Sven (2006). The Sphere of Attention: Context and Margin. Springer.   (Google)
Abstract: For the first time, this book classifies how attention shifts, and argues that self-awareness, reflection, and even morality, are best thought of as dynamic...
Binet, Alfred (1886). Attention in perception. Mind 11 (44):599-600.   (Google | More links)
Block, Richard A. & Zakay, Dan (2001). Retrospective and prospective timing: Memory, attention and consciousness. In Christoph Hoerl & Teresa McCormark (eds.), Time and Memory. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Bradley, Francis H. (1886). Is there any special activity of attention? Mind 11 (43):305-323.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Christ, Gregory J. (1993). Reply to the ability of the sweeping model to explain human attention. Journal of Mind and Behavior 14 (3):215-222.   (Google)
Clark, Austen (online). Preattentive precursors to phenomenal properties.   (Google)
Abstract: What are the relations between preattentive feature-placing and states of perceptual awareness? For the purposes of this paper, states of "perceptual awareness" are confined to the simplest possible exemplars: states in which one is aware of some aspect of the appearance of something one perceives. Subjective contours are used as an example. Early visual processing seems to employ independent, high-bandwidth, preattentive feature "channels", followed by a selective process that directs selective attention. The mechanisms that yield subjective contours are found very early in this processing. An experiment by Greg Davis and Jon Driver is described; it seems to show that multiple subjective figures can be coded in these preattentive, parallel stages of visual processing. I propose that some of these preattentive states might register the very same differences that, were one aware of them, would be phenomenal differences. Some arguments pro and con on this possibility are assessed
Coates, Paul (2004). Wilfrid Sellars, perceptual consciousness, and theory of attention. Essays in Philosophy 5 (1):1-25.   (Google)
Coltheart, Max (1999). Trains, planes, and brains: Attention and consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):152-153.   (Google)
Abstract: O'Brien & Opie believe that some mental representations are evoked by stimuli to which a person is attending, and other mental representations are evoked by stimuli to which attention was not paid. I argue that this is the classical view of consciousness; yet this is the view which they wish to challenge
Eilan, Naomi M. (2006). On the role of perceptual consciousness in explaining the goals and mechanisms of vision: A convergence on attention? Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 80 (1):67�88.   (Google | More links)
Eilan, Naomi M. (1998). Perceptual intentionality, attention and consciousness. In Current Issues in Philosophy of Mind. New York: Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 16 | Google)
Ellis, Ralph D. (2001). A theoretical model of the role of the cerebellum in cognition, attention and consciousness. Consciousness and Emotion 2 (2):300-309.   (Google)
Ford, Jason & Smith, David Woodruff (2006). Consciousness, self, and attention. In Uriah Kriegel & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness. MIT Press.   (Google)
Ford, Jason M. (online). The attention model of consciousness.   (Google)
Grassia, Massimo (2004). Consciousness and perceptual attention: A methodological argument. Essays in Philosophy 5 (1):1-23.   (Google)
Grossberg, S. (1999). The link between brain learning, attention, and consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition 8 (1):1-44.   (Cited by 130 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The processes whereby our brains continue to learn about a changing world in a stable fashion throughout life are proposed to lead to conscious experiences. These processes include the learning of top-down expectations, the matching of these expectations against bottom-up data, the focusing of attention upon the expected clusters of information, and the development of resonant states between bottom-up and top-down processes as they reach an attentive consensus between what is expected and what is there in the outside world. It is suggested that all conscious states in the brain are resonant states and that these resonant states trigger learning of sensory and cognitive representations. The models which summarize these concepts are therefore called Adaptive Resonance Theory, or ART, models. Psychophysical and neurobiological data in support of ART are presented from early vision, visual object recognition, auditory streaming, variable-rate speech perception, somatosensory perception, and cognitive-emotional interactions, among others. It is noted that ART mechanisms seem to be operative at all levels of the visual system, and it is proposed how these mechanisms are realized by known laminar circuits of visual cortex. It is predicted that the same circuit realization of ART mechanisms will be found in the laminar circuits of all sensory and cognitive neocortex. Concepts and data are summarized concerning how some visual percepts may be visibly, or modally, perceived, whereas amodal percepts may be consciously recognized even though they are perceptually invisible. It is also suggested that sensory and cognitive processing in the What processing stream of the brain obey top-down matching and learning laws that are often complementary to those used for spatial and motor processing in the brain's Where processing stream. This enables our sensory and cognitive representations to maintain their stability as we learn more about the world, while allowing spatial and motor representations to forget learned maps and gains that are no longer appropriate as our bodies develop and grow from infanthood to adulthood. Procedural memories are proposed to be unconscious because the inhibitory matching process that supports these spatial and motor processes cannot lead to resonance
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (2003). Attention versus consciousness: A distinction with a difference. In Naoyuki Osaka (ed.), Neural Basis of Consciousness. John Benjamins.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (1998). The puzzle of attention, the importance of metaphors. Philosophical Psychology 11 (3):331-351.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Abstract: I have two goals in this paper. First, I want to show by example that inferences about theoretical entities are relatively contingent affairs. Previously accepted conceptual metaphors in science set both the general form of new theories and our acceptance of the theories as plausible. In addition, they determine how we define the relevant parameters in investigating phenomena in the first place. These items then determine how we conceptualize things in the world. Second, and maybe more importantly, I want to solve a puzzle that falls out of our current explication of attention, namely why we have it. Given the now widely accepted view that our brains are massively parallel, it is difficult to see why we should have evolved attentional mechanisms at all. Why gate when we can already process what we transduce in parallel? Here I answer that puzzle and suggest a perspective on attention that makes it a bit easier to understand, although this perspective also entails that we have to revise how we individuate experimental protocols and relevant data
Hellie, Benj (2006). Beyond phenomenal naivete. Philosophers' Imprint 6 (2):1-24.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The naive realist takes a veridical visual experience to be an immediate relation to external entities. Is this how such an experience is phenomenally, by its phenomenal character? Only if there can be phenomenal error, since a hallucinatory experience phenomenally matching such a veridical experience would then be phenomenally but not in fact such a relation. Fortunately, such phenomenal error can be avoided: the phenomenal character of a visual experience involves immediate awareness of a sort of picture of external entities, as on a representative theory of perception. The attraction of naive realism results from an erroneous projection of the immediacy of the subject's awareness of this picture onto the external entities pictured.
Hellie, Benj (ms). Visual form, attention, and binocularity.   (Google)
Abstract: This somewhat odd paper argues against a representational view of visual experience using an intricate "inversion" type thought experiment involving double vision: two subjects could represent external space in the same way while differing phenomenally due to different "spread" in their double images. The spatial structure of the visual field is explained not by representation of external space but functionally, in terms of the possible locations of an attentional spotlight. I'm fond of the ideas in this paper but doubt I'll be returning to it soon.
Jimenez, Luis (2003). Intention, attention, and consciousness in probabilistic sequence learning. In Luis Jimenez (ed.), Attention and Implicit Learning. John Benjamins.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Lavie, Nilli (2007). Attention and consciousness. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.   (Google)
Malach, Rafael & Josipovic, Zoran (2006). Perception without a perceiver - in conversation with Zoran josipovic. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (9):57-66.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Rafael Malach is currently a professor in the department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. His current research is aimed at understanding how the neuronal circuitry in the human brain translates a stream of sensory stimuli into meaningful perception. Rafael Malach received his PhD in physiological optics from UC Berkeley and did his post-doctorate research at MIT. Originally doing research on the organization of neuronal connections in the primate brain, his focus has recently shifted to the study of the human cerebral cortex using fMRI. Professor Malach has begun this research at Massachusetts General Hospital, exploring a new object-related region called the lateral occipital complex. Since then he expanded this research, studying the human visual cortex using a variety of methods, including adaptation paradigms, backward masking, and more recently naturalistic stimuli--all aimed at deciphering the intriguing link between perceptual experience and brain activity
Marshall, G. D. (1970). Attention and will. Philosophical Quarterly 20 (January):14-25.   (Google | More links)
Martin, Michael G. F. (1997). Sense, reference and selective attention II. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 71 (1):75–98.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Mole, Christopher (2008). Attention and consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (4):86-104.   (Google)
Abstract: According to commonsense psychology, one is conscious of everything that one pays attention to, but one does not pay attention to all the things that one is conscious of. Recent lines of research purport to show that commonsense is mistaken on both of these points: Mack and Rock (1998) tell us that attention is necessary for consciousness, while Kentridge and Heywood (2001) claim that consciousness is not necessary for attention. If these lines of research were successful they would have important implications regarding the prospects of using attention research to inform us about consciousness. The present essay shows that these lines of research are not successful, and that the commonsense picture of the relationship between attention and consciousness can be
Mole, Christopher (2005). Attention is Cognitive Unison. Dissertation, Princeton University   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Mole, Christopher (2008). Attention in the absence of consciousness? Trends in Cognitive Science 12 (2):44.   (Google)
Abstract: A response to Christof Koch and Naotsugu Tsuchiya's 'Attention and Consciousness: Two Distinct Brain Processes'
Morrison, J. F. & David, AS (2005). Now you see it, now you don't: More data at the cognitive level needed before the PAD model can be accepted. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):770-+.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Before a general cognitive model for recurrent complex visual hallucinations (RCVH) is accepted, there must be more research into the neuropsychological and cognitive characteristics of the various disorders in which they occur. Currently available data are insufficient to distinguish whether the similar phenomenology of RCVH across different disorders is in fact produced by a single or by multiple cognitive mechanisms
Natsoulas, Thomas (2002). On the intrinsic nature of states of consciousness: O'Shaughnessy and the mythology of the attention. Consciousness and Emotion 3 (1):35-64.   (Google)
Abstract: What are the states of consciousness in themselves, those pulses of mentality that follow one upon another in tight succession and constitute the stream of consciousness? William James conceives of each of them as being, typically, a complex unitary awareness that instantiates many features and takes a multiplicity of objects. In contrast, Brian O?Shaughnessy claims that the basic durational component of the stream of consciousness is the attention, which he understands to be something like a psychic space that is simultaneously occupied by several experiences. Whereas, according to the first conception, emotion is a feature of a temporal segment of the stream of consciousness and colors through and through each consciousness state that instantiates it, the second conception considers an emotion to be a distinct one of a system of simultaneous experiences that interact with each other, for example, limiting each other?s number and intensity. Among other matters discussed is the two theorists? mutually contrasting conception of how the non-inferential awareness which we have of our states of consciousness is accomplished
Newman, J. B. (1995). Thalamic contributions to attention and consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition 4:172-93.   (Cited by 62 | Google)
Peacocke, Christopher (1998). Conscious attitudes, attention, and self-knowledge. In C. Wright, B. Smith & C. Macdonald (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 18 | Google | More links)
Roessler, Johannes (2000). Attention and the self: An appreciation of C.o. Evans' The Subject of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (5):76-81.   (Google)
Abstract: _The Sub ject of Con scious ness_ is a rich, strik ingly orig i nal and ambi tious work. It makes an impor tant and timely con tri bu tion to cur rent debates on a num ber of issues which over the last few years have been tak ing cen tre stage in the phi los o phy of mind: for exam ple, self-consciousness, selec tive atten tion and the nature of bodily aware ness. What makes this achieve ment some what unusual, and all the more remark able, is that _The Sub ject of Con scious ness_ was pub lished thirty years ago (Evans, 1970). The reviews it received at the time ranged from the hos tile to the deri sory
Roessler, Johannes (1999). Perception, introspection and attention. European Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):47-64.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Rutgers Marshall, Henry (1908). Subattentive consciousness and suggestion. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 5 (18):477-483.   (Google | More links)
Ruz, M. (2006). Let the brain explain the mind: The case of attention. Philosophical Psychology 19 (4):495-505.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Oversimplified conceptions of cognitive neuroscience regard the goal of this discipline as the localization of previously discovered and validated cognitive processes. Research however is showing how brain data goes far beyond this translation role, as it can be used to help in explaining human cognition. Knowing about the brain is useful in building and redefining taxonomies of the mind and also in describing the mechanisms by which cognitive phenomena proceed. The present paper takes the cognitive system of attention as a model research field to exemplify how biological knowledge can be used to advance the psychological theories explaining mental phenomena
Smith, W. G. (1895). The relation of attention to memory. Mind 4 (13):47-73.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Titchener, Edward Bradford (1910). Attention as sensory clearness. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 7 (7):180-182.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Ward, Lawrence M.; Doesburg, Sam M.; Kitajo, Keiichi; MacLean, Shannon E. & Roggeveen, Alexa B. (2006). Neural synchrony in stochastic resonance, attention, and consciousness. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 60 (4):319-326.   (Google)
White, Alan R. (1964). Attention. Oxford: Blackwell.   (Google)
Wu, Wayne (forthcoming). What is Conscious Attention? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.   (Google)
Abstract: Perceptual attention is essential to both thought and agency, for there is arguably no demonstrative thought or bodily action without it. Psychologists and philosophers since William James have taken attention to be a ubiquitous and distinctive form of consciousness, one that leaves a characteristic mark on perceptual experience. As a process of selecting specific perceptual inputs, attention influences the way things perceptually appear. It may then seem that it is a specific feature of perceptual representation that constitutes what it is like to consciously attend to an object. In fact conscious attention is more complicated. In what follows, I argue that the phenomenology of conscious attention to what is perceived involves not just a way of perceptually locking on to a specific object. It necessarily involves a way of cognitively locking on to it as well.

5.1a.2 Attention, Misc

Mole, Christopher (2005). Review of Naomi Eilan, christop hoerlh, Teresa McCormack, Johannes Roessler (eds), Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds -- Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (9).   (Google)

5.1a.3 The Nature of Attention

Chrisley, Ron & Parthemore, J. (2007). Synthetic phenomenology:Exploiting embodiment to specify the non-conceptual content of visual experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (7):44-58.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Not all research in machine consciousness aims to instantiate phenomenal states in artefacts. For example, one can use artefacts that do not themselves have phenomenal states, merely to simulate or model organisms that do. Nevertheless, one might refer to all of these pursuits -- instantiating, simulating or modelling phenomenal states in an artefact -- as 'synthetic phenomenality'. But there is another way in which artificial agents (be they simulated or real) may play a crucial role in understanding or creating consciousness: 'synthetic phenomenology'. Explanations involving specific experiential events require a means of specifying the contents of experience; not all of them can be specified linguistically. One alternative, at least for the case of visual experience, is to use depictions that either evoke or refer to the content of the experience. Practical considerations concerning the generation and integration of such depictions argue in favour of a synthetic approach: the generation of depictions through the use of an embodied, perceiving and acting agent, either virtual or real. Synthetic phenomenology, then, is the attempt to use the states, interactions and capacities of an artificial agent for the purpose of specifying the contents of conscious experience. This paper takes the first steps toward seeing how one might use a robot to specify the non- conceptual content of the visual experience of an (hypothetical) organism that the robot models
Mole, Christopher (2005). Attention is Cognitive Unison. Dissertation, Princeton University   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Wu, Wayne (forthcoming). Confronting Many-Many Problems: Attention and Agentive Control. Nous.   (Google)
Abstract: I argue that when perception, indeed perceptual attention, plays a guiding role in intentional bodily action, it is a necessary part or constituent of that action. The argument begins with a challenge that necessarily arises for embodied agents, what I call the Many-Many Problem: in the context of action, agents face too many perceptual inputs and too many possible behavioral outputs. Action requires that the Many-Many Problem be solved by reducing the many-many set of options to a specific mapping between target and response. Throughout the execution of action, the agent must continue to perceptually select, and hence attend to, relevant information so as to guide the execution of specific movements. Since perceptual attention is a necessary part of solving the Many-Many Problem, it is a necessary part of action. Indeed, the whole of the process of implementing a solution to the Many-Many Problem, as constrained by the agent’s motivational state, just is the agent’s acting in a bodily way.