July 15, 2007

Attention and consciousness: two distinct brain processes

attention, perception — alice @ 10:09 pm Print This Post  AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Abstract of Attention and consciousness: two distinct brain processes, in TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences.

The close relationship between attention and consciousness has led many scholars to conflate these processes. This article summarizes psychophysical evidence, arguing that top-down attention and consciousness are distinct phenomena that need not occur together and that can be manipulated using distinct paradigms. Subjects can become conscious of an isolated object or the gist of a scene despite the near absence of top-down attention; conversely, subjects can attend to perceptually invisible objects. Furthermore, top-down attention and consciousness can have opposing effects. Such dissociations are easier to understand when the different functions of these two processes are considered. Untangling their tight relationship is necessary for the scientific elucidation of consciousness and its material substrate.

For full access to this paper, click here.

1 Comment »

  1. I agree with the authors that untangling the relationship between attention and consciousness is necessary for a better understanding of consciousness and its biological substrate. The relationship between attention and consciousness is clarified in an explicit model of the neuronal mechanisms competent to account for fundamental aspects of phenomenal experience and the selective attention that enables us to focus on particular objects of our global experience. For a detailed description and discussion of these putative brain mechanisms, go to:

    http://www.people.umass.edu/trehub/thecognitivebrain/chapter4.pdf

    http://people.umass.edu/trehub/YCCOG828%20copy.pdf

    Comment by Arnold Trehub — July 16, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

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