Attention and consciousness: Two distinct brain process.

Division of Biology 216-76, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences (Impact Factor: 21.15). 02/2007; 11(1):16-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2006.10.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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Available from: Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Feb 18, 2014
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    • "Difficulties have also been encountered in reconciling various proposals about how attention relates to conscious perceptual experience (cf. e.g., Cohen, Cavanagh, Chun, & Nakayama, 2012; De Brigard & Prinz, 2010; Kentridge, 2011; Koch & Tsuchiya, 2007; Lamme, 2003). It has been suggested that many of these difficulties exist because—contrary to common belief—"attention" does not refer to a single process, but is an umbrella term referring to several processes (Allport, 1993; Treisman, 1969). "
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    Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception, and Consciousness, Edited by P. Coates, S. Coleman, 08/2015: chapter 12: pages 347-375; Oxford: University Press.
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    • "In terms of intellectual roots, the architecture shares much of the structure found in the Global Workspace Theory of consciousness (Baars, 1997), which is part of the considerable literature addressing the relationship 1 Adaptive, Reflective Cognition in an Attention-Driven Integrated Architecture between attention, perception, and consciousness. This relatively new area of research continues to bear fruit (Baars, Banks, & Newman, 2003; Dehaene, Changeux, Naccache, Sackur, & Sergent, 2006; Koch & Tsuchiya, 2007). Where appropriate, we will draw parallels between ideas from this literature and the design of ARCADIA. "
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