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Summary

The two central questions explored by papers in this area are: is there attention in the absence of consciousness (unconscious attention) and is there conscious experience or awareness in the absence of attention (consciousness without attention)? The debates about the existence of unconscious attention are frequently focused on the phenomenon of blindsight, though there have also been various experiments involving normal subjects that are taken to lend support to the existence of unconscious attention. Roughly, the point of contention is whether there is anything that is both unconscious and attended, and the candidates are objects, features of objects, and locations. Change and inattentional blindness experiments are sometimes taken to show that unattended objects or features are not consciously experienced. It has also been argued on an experimental basis that some visual phenomenal experience is unaccessed, and that vision has a finer grain than attention. 

Key works Key works on unconscious attention include: Kentridge et al 2008 and Mole 2008.  Key works on consciousness without attention include: Mack & Rock 1998 who claim that there may be no explicit awareness without attention; Mole 2008 who claims that attention may not be necessary for consciousness, but only for certain kinds of thought necessary for report; Block 2007 and Block 2011, who argues that some visual phenomenal experience is unaccessed; and Block 2012, Richards 2013, Taylor 2013, and Block 2013 who debate whether vision has a finer grain than attention that results in cases in which crowded objects are seen in the periphery of the visual field despite being unattended.
Introductions Mole et al 2011 is an anthology that provides a good introduction to issues surrounding attention and consciousness.
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  1. Cartographies of Capture.Kieran Aarons - forthcoming - Theory and Event 16 (2).
  2. Can the Mind Wander Intentionally?Samuel Murray & Kristina Krasich - unknown - Mind and Language:1-22.
    Mind wandering is typically operationalized as task-unrelated thought. Some argue for the need to distinguish between unintentional and intentional mind wandering, where an agent voluntarily shifts attention from task-related to task-unrelated thoughts. We reveal an inconsistency between the standard, task-unrelated thought definition of mind wandering and the occurrence of intentional mind wandering (together with plausible assumptions about tasks and intentions). This suggests that either the standard definition of mind wandering should be rejected or that intentional mind wandering is an incoherent (...)
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  3. What's in a Task? Complications in the Study of the Task-Unrelated-Thought (TUT) Variety of Mind Wandering.Samuel Murray, Kristina Krasich, Jonathan Schooler & Paul Seli - unknown - Perspectives on Psychological Science:1-50.
    In recent years, the number of studies examining mind wandering has increased considerably, and research on the topic has spread widely across various domains of psychological research. Although the term “mind wandering” has been used to refer to various cognitive states, researchers typically operationalize mind wandering in terms of “task-unrelated thought” (TUT). Research on TUT has shed light on the various task features that require people’s attention, and on the consequences of task inattention. Important methodological and conceptual complications do persist, (...)
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  4. Attention, Consciousness, and Data Display.Ronald A. Rensink - forthcoming - 2006 Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, Statistical Graphics Section.
    Recent advances in our understanding of visual perception have shown it to be a far more complex and counterintuitive process than previously believed. Several important consequences follow from this. First, the design of an effective statistical graphics system is unlikely to succeed based on intuition alone; instead, it must rely on a more sophisticated, systematic approach. The basic elements of such an approach are outlined here, along with several design principles. An overview is then given of recent advances in our (...)
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  5. The Transparency of Experience and the Neuroscience of Attention.Assaf Weksler, Hilla Jacobson & Zohar Z. Bronfman - forthcoming - Synthese.
    According to the thesis of transparency, subjects can attend only to the representational content of perceptual experience, never to the intrinsic properties of experience that carry this representational content, i.e., to “mental paint.” So far, arguments for and against transparency were conducted from the armchair, relying mainly on introspective observations. In this paper, we argue in favor of transparency, relying on the cognitive neuroscience of attention. We present a trilemma to those who hold that attention can be directed to mental (...)
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  6. The Philosophy of Mind Wandering.Irving Zachary & Thompson Evan - forthcoming - In Fox Kieran & Christoff Kalina (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Spontaneous Thought and Creativity. Oxford University Press.
    Our paper serves as an introduction to a budding field: the philosophy of mind-wandering. We begin with a philosophical critique of the standard psychological definitions of mind-wandering as task-unrelated or stimulus-independent. Although these definitions have helped bring mind-wandering research onto centre stage in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, they have substantial limitations that researchers must overcome to move forward. Specifically, the standard definitions do not account for (i) the dynamics of mind wandering, (ii) task-unrelated thought that does not qualify as mind-wandering, (...)
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  7. Who Wrote That? Automaticity and Reduced Sense of Agency in Individuals Prone to Dissociative Absorption.Noa Bregman-Hai, Yoav Kessler & Nirit Soffer-Dudek - 2020 - Consciousness and Cognition 78:102861.
  8. The Attending Mind.Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2020 - Cambridge University Press.
    Attention is essential to the life of the mind, a central topic in cognitive science, neuroscience, and psychology. Traditional debates in philosophy stand to benefit from greater understanding of the phenomenon, whether on the nature of the self, the foundation of knowledge, the natural basis of consciousness, or the origins of action and responsibility. This book is at the crossroads of philosophy of mind and cognitive science, offering a new theoretical stance on the concept of attention and how it intersects (...)
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  9. Consciousness and Attention.Christopher Mole - 2020 - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford, UK:
    As a tactic for preventing an enquiry into attention’s relationship to consciousness from lapsing into ill-definition, this chapter treats ‘attention’ as a term defined by the role that is assigned to it in our explanations of empirically established psychological phenomena (especially those involving the modulation of reaction times). It reviews evidence showing that such modulations are associated with processing that stands in various relations to consciousness. The psychological phenomena that explain these modulations cannot be identified with the causes of consciousness. (...)
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  10. Attention and Perceptual Justification.Nicholas Silins & Susanna Siegel - 2020 - In Adam Pautz & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), Festschrift for Ned Block. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  11. L'attention et la justification des croyances perceptives.Emile Thalabard - 2020 - Lato Sensu, Revue de la Société de Philosophie des Sciences 7:1-15.
    This essay defends the claim that endogenous attention is necessary for the justification of perceptual beliefs. I criticize the so-called phenomenal approach, according to which perceptual experiences provide justification in virtue of being phenomenally conscious. I specifically target Siegel and Silins’ (2014 ; 2019) version of the phenomenal approach. As against their view, I claim that perceptual justification cannot be understood without reference to the cognitive mechanisms which underlie the mobilization of reasons in support of propositional attitudes – attention being (...)
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  12. Anticipated, Experienced, and Remembered Subjective Effort and Discomfort on Sustained Attention Versus Working Memory Tasks.Veerpal Bambrah, Chia-Fen Hsu, Maggie E. Toplak & John D. Eastwood - 2019 - Consciousness and Cognition 75:102812.
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  13. What Do We Need to Know to Know That Animals Are Conscious of What They Know?Gary Comstock - 2019 - Animal Behavior and Cognition 6 (4):289-308.
    In this paper I argue for the following six claims: 1) The problem is that some think metacognition and consciousness are dissociable. 2) The solution is not to revive associationist explanations; 3) …nor is the solution to identify metacognition with Carruthers’ gatekeeping mechanism. 4) The solution is to define conscious metacognition; 5) … devise an empirical test for it in humans; and 6) … apply it to animals.
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  14. Attentional Blink Affected by Acute Stress in Women: The Role of Affective Stimuli and Attentional Resources.Yuecui Kan, Haijun Duan, Xitong Chen, Xuewei Wang, Wenlong Xue & Weiping Hu - 2019 - Consciousness and Cognition 75:102796.
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  15. The Idea of the World: A Multi-Disciplinary Argument for the Mental Nature of Reality.Bernardo Kastrup - 2019 - Winchester, UK: Iff Books.
    The Idea of the World offers a grounded alternative to the frenzy of unrestrained abstractions and unexamined assumptions in philosophy and science today. This book examines what can be learned about the nature of reality based on conceptual parsimony, straightforward logic and empirical evidence from fields as diverse as physics and neuroscience. It compiles an overarching case for idealism - the notion that reality is essentially mental - from ten original articles the author has previously published in leading academic journals. (...)
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  16. Dispositional Mindfulness Attenuates the Emotional Attentional Blink.Dominique Makowski, Marco Sperduti, Samantha Lavallée, Serge Nicolas & Pascale Piolino - 2019 - Consciousness and Cognition 67:16-25.
  17. Resting EEG in Alpha and Beta Bands Predicts Individual Differences in Attentional Breadth.Brent Pitchford & Karen M. Arnell - 2019 - Consciousness and Cognition 75:102803.
  18. Examining Effects of Preconscious Mere Exposure: An Inattentional Blindness Approach.Giulia Pugnaghi, Daniel Memmert & Carina Kreitz - 2019 - Consciousness and Cognition 75:102825.
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  19. Motor Response Influences Perceptual Awareness Judgements.Marta Siedlecka, Justyna Hobot, Zuzanna Skóra, Borysław Paulewicz, Bert Timmermans & Michał Wierzchoń - 2019 - Consciousness and Cognition 75:102804.
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  20. Review of Meaning and the Growth of Understanding Wittgenstein's Significance for Developmental Psychology -- Chapman and Dixon Eds. (1987)(Review Revised 2019).Michael Starks - 2019 - In The Logical Structure of Human Behavior. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 209-224.
    Although now over 25 years old, many of the essays are quite contemporary. As expected, none of the authors grasp the full relevance of W for the description of behavior, missing most of the points made in my comments above, his many examples of how S1 becomes S2, his role as a pioneer in EP, and his attempts to separate nature from nurture. Brose has many good points and is aware of the foundational nature of On Certainty, but is too (...)
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  21. Action Always Involves Attention.Wayne Wu - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):693-703.
    Jennings and Nanay argue against my claim that action entails attention by providing putative counterexamples to the claim that action entails a Many–Many Problem. This reply demonstrates that they have misunderstood the central notion of a pure reflex on which my argument depends. A simplified form of the argument from pure reflex to the Many–Many Problem as a necessary feature of agency is given, and putative counterexamples of action without attention are addressed. Attention is present in every action. In passing, (...)
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  22. Getting It Together: Psychological Unity and Deflationary Accounts of Animal Metacognition.Gary Comstock & William A. Bauer - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (4):431-451.
    Experimenters claim some nonhuman mammals have metacognition. If correct, the results indicate some animal minds are more complex than ordinarily presumed. However, some philosophers argue for a deflationary reading of metacognition experiments, suggesting that the results can be explained in first-order terms. We agree with the deflationary interpretation of the data but we argue that the metacognition research forces the need to recognize a heretofore underappreciated feature in the theory of animal minds, which we call Unity. The disparate mental states (...)
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  23. Attention is a Sterile Concept; Iterative Reentry is a Fertile Substitute.Vincent Di Lollo - 2018 - Consciousness and Cognition 64:45-49.
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  24. Perceptual Averaging of Facial Expressions Requires Visual Awareness and Attention.Elric Elias, Lauren Padama & Timothy D. Sweeny - 2018 - Consciousness and Cognition 62:110-126.
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  25. Influence of Automation on Mind Wandering Frequency in Sustained Attention.Jonas Gouraud, Arnaud Delorme & Bruno Berberian - 2018 - Consciousness and Cognition 66:54-64.
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  26. The Phenomenology of REM-Sleep Dreaming: The Contributions of Personal and Perspectival Ownership, Subjective Temporality and Episodic Memory.Stan Klein - 2018 - Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 6:55-66.
    Although the dream narrative, of (bio)logical necessity, originates with the dreamer, s/he typically does not know this. For the dreamer, the dream world is the real world. In this article I argue that this nightly misattribution is best explained in terms of the concept of mental ownership (e.g., Albahari, 2006; Klein, 2015a; Lane, 2012). Specifically, the exogenous nature of the dream narrative is the result of an individual assuming perspectival, but not personal, ownership of content s/he authored (i.e., “The content (...)
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  27. Are the States Underlying Implicit Biases Unconscious? – A Neo-Freudian Answer.Beate Krickel - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (6):1007-1026.
    Many philosophers as well as psychologists hold that implicit biases are due to unconscious attitudes. The justification for this unconscious-claim seems to be an inference to the best explanation of the mismatch between explicit and implicit attitudes, which is characteristic for implicit biases. The unconscious-claim has recently come under attack based on its inconsistency with empirical data. Instead, Gawronski et al. (2006) analyze implicit biases based on the so-called Associative-Propositional Evaluation (APE) model, according to which implicit attitudes are phenomenally conscious (...)
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  28. Attention, Expectation and Iconic Memory: A Reply to Aru and Bachmann.Arien Mack, Jason Clarke & Muge Erol - 2018 - Consciousness and Cognition 59:60-63.
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  29. Immobilization Does Not Disrupt Near-Hand Attentional Biases.Robert McManus & Laura E. Thomas - 2018 - Consciousness and Cognition 64:50-60.
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  30. The Effect of Movement-Focused and Breath-Focused Yoga Practice on Stress Parameters and Sustained Attention: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study.Laura Schmalzl, Chivon Powers, Anthony P. Zanesco, Neil Yetz, Erik J. Groessl & Clifford D. Saron - 2018 - Consciousness and Cognition 65:109-125.
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  31. Inattentional Blindness on the Full-Attention Trial: Are We Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater?Rebekah C. White, Martin Davies & Anne M. Aimola Davies - 2018 - Consciousness and Cognition 59:64-77.
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  32. Expectation Creates Something Out of Nothing: The Role of Attention in Iconic Memory Reconsidered.Jaan Aru & Talis Bachmann - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 53:203-210.
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  33. Attention and Mental Primer.Jacob Beck & Keith A. Schneider - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (4):463-494.
    Drawing on the empirical premise that attention makes objects look more intense, Ned Block has argued for mental paint, a phenomenal residue that cannot be reduced to what is perceived or represented. If sound, Block's argument would undermine direct realism and representationism, two widely held views about the nature of conscious perception. We argue that Block's argument fails because the empirical premise it is based upon is false. Attending to an object alters its salience, but not its perceived intensity. We (...)
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  34. Multisensory Processing and Perceptual Consciousness: Part II.Robert Eamon Briscoe - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (12):1-13.
    The first part of this survey article presented a cartography of some of the more extensively studied forms of multisensory processing. In this second part, I turn to examining some of the different possible ways in which the structure of conscious perceptual experience might also be characterized as multisensory. In addition, I discuss the significance of research on multisensory processing and multisensory consciousness for philosophical debates concerning the modularity of perception, cognitive penetration, and the individuation of the senses.
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  35. The Influence of Focused-Attention Meditation States on the Cognitive Control of Sequence Learning.Russell W. Chan, Maarten A. Immink & Kurt Lushington - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 55:11-25.
  36. Predictions, Precision, and Agentive Attention.Andy Clark - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 56:115-119.
    The use of forward models is well established in cognitive and computational neuroscience. We compare and contrast two recent, but interestingly divergent, accounts of the place of forward models in the human cognitive architecture. On the Auxiliary Forward Model account, forward models are special-purpose prediction mechanisms implemented by additional circuitry distinct from core mechanisms of perception and action. On the Integral Forward Model account, forward models lie at the heart of all forms of perception and action. We compare these neighbouring (...)
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  37. Intrusive Uncertainty in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.Tom Cochrane & Keeley Heaton - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (2):182-208.
    In this article we examine obsessive compulsive disorder. We examine and reject two existing models of this disorder: the Dysfunctional Belief Model and the Inference-Based Approach. Instead, we propose that the main distinctive characteristic of OCD is a hyperactive sub-personal signal of being in error, experienced by the individual as uncertainty about his or her intentional actions. This signalling interacts with the anxiety sensitivities of the individual to trigger conscious checking processes, including speculations about possible harms. We examine the implications (...)
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  38. Adaptive Attunement of Selective Covert Attention to Evolutionary-Relevant Emotional Visual Scenes.Andrés Fernández-Martín, Aída Gutiérrez-García, Juan Capafons & Manuel G. Calvo - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 51:223-235.
  39. Interoception and Gender: What Aspects Should We Pay Attention To?Aida Grabauskaitė, Mindaugas Baranauskas & Inga Griškova-Bulanova - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 48:129-137.
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  40. Understanding the Coherence of the Severity Effect and Optimism Phenomena: Lessons From Attention.Adam J. L. Harris - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 50:30-44.
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  41. Attention and the Sense of Agency: A Review and Some Thoughts on the Matter.Nicholas Hon - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 56:30-36.
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  42. Perception of Ensemble Statistics Requires Attention.Molly Jackson-Nielsen, Michael A. Cohen & Michael A. Pitts - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 48:149-160.
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  43. Mounting Evidence That Minds Are Neural EM Fields Interacting with Brains.Mostyn W. Jones - 2017 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (1-2):159-183.
    Evidence that minds are neural electromagnetic fields comes from research into how separate brain activities bind to form unified percepts and unified minds. Explanations of binding using synchrony, attention, and convergence are all problematic. But the unity of EM fields explains binding without these problems. These unified fields neatly explain correlations and divergences between synchrony, attention, convergence, and unified minds. The simplest explanation for the unity of both minds and fields is that minds are fields. Treating minds as the fields' (...)
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  44. Scene Incongruity and Attention.Arien Mack, Jason Clarke, Muge Erol & John Bert - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 48:87-103.
  45. Attention and Cognitive Penetrability: The Epistemic Consequences of Attention as a Form of Metacognitive Regulation.Francesco Marchi - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 47:48-62.
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  46. Selective Attention Meets Spontaneous Recognition Memory: Evidence for Effects at Retrieval.Katherine C. Moen, Jeremy K. Miller & Marianne E. Lloyd - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 49:181-189.
  47. Measuring Away an Attentional Confound?Jorge Morales, Yasha Mouradi, Claire Sergent, Ned Block, Vincent Taschereau-Dumouchel, David Rosenthal, Piercesare Grimaldi & Hakwan Lau - 2017 - Neuroscience of Consciousness 3 (1):1-3.
    A recent fMRI study by Webb et al. (Cortical networks involved in visual awareness independent of visual attention, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016;113:13923–28) proposes a new method for finding the neural correlates of awareness by matching atten- tion across awareness conditions. The experimental design, however, seems at odds with known features of attention. We highlight logical and methodological points that are critical when trying to disentangle attention and awareness.
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  48. Attention Capture Without Awareness in a Non-Spatial Selection Task.Chris Oriet, Mamata Pandey & Jun-Ichiro Kawahara - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 48:117-128.
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  49. Interplay Between Supramodal Attentional Control and Capacity Limits in the Low-Level Visual Processors Modulate the Tendency to Inattention.Massimiliano Papera & Anne Richards - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 54:72-88.
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  50. Attention in the Predictive Mind.Madeleine Ransom, Sina Fazelpour & Christopher Mole - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 47:99-112.
    It has recently become popular to suggest that cognition can be explained as a process of Bayesian prediction error minimization. Some advocates of this view propose that attention should be understood as the optimization of expected precisions in the prediction-error signal (Clark, 2013, 2016; Feldman & Friston, 2010; Hohwy, 2012, 2013). This proposal successfully accounts for several attention-related phenomena. We claim that it cannot account for all of them, since there are certain forms of voluntary attention that it cannot accommodate. (...)
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