About this topic

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 2013, 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. Attention and Integration.Alan Allport - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 24.
  3. Attention and Control. Have We Been Asking the Wrong Questions? A Critical Review of Twenty-Five Years.Alan Allport - 1993 - In David E. Meyer & Sylvan Kornblum (eds.), Attention and Performance XIV. MIT Press. pp. 183-218.
  4. Selection for Action: Some Behavioral and Neurophysiological Considerations of Attention and Action.D. A. Allport - 1987 - In H. Heuer & H. F. Sanders (eds.), Perspectives on Perception and Action. Lawerence Erlbaum. pp. 395–419.
  5. Attention Capture: The Interplay of Expectations, Attention, and Awareness.M. Ambinder & D. J. Simons - 2005 - In Laurent Itti, Geraint Rees & John K. Tsotsos (eds.), Neurobiology of Attention. Academic Press. pp. 69--75.
  6. Affective Influences on the Attentional Dynamics Supporting Awareness.Adam K. Anderson - 2005 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 134 (2):258-281.
  7. Selective Attention and Dimensional Learning: A Logical Analysis of Two-Stage Attention Theories.Daniel R. Anderson, Deborah G. Kemler & Bryan E. Shepp - 1973 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 2 (5):273-275.
  8. Visual Attention and Self-Grooming Behaviors Among Four-Month-Old Infants.Samuel W. Anderson, Marina Koulomzin, Beatrice Beebe & Joseph Jaffe - 2002 - In Maxim I. Stamenov & Vittorio Gallese (eds.), Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language. John Benjamins. pp. 295.
  9. Attention Changes Perceived Size of Moving Visual Patterns.K. Anton-Erxleben, C. Henrich & S. Treue - 2007 - Journal of Vision 7 (11):1-9.
  10. Visual Feature Integration with an Attention Deficit.Martin Arguin, Patrick Cavanagh & Yves Joanette - 1994 - Brain and Cognition 24:44-56.
  11. Covert Spatial Attention and Saccade Planning.Katherine M. Armstrong - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 78.
  12. Spatial Distortion Induced by Imperceptible Visual Stimuli.Ricky Kc Au, Fuminori Ono & Katsumi Watanabe - 2013 - Consciousness and Cognition 22 (1):99.
    Previous studies have explored the effects of attention on spatial representation. Specifically, in the attentional repulsion effect, a transient visual cue that captures attention has been shown to alter the perceived position of a target stimulus to the direction away from the cue. The effect is also susceptible to retrospective influence, that attention appears to attract the target when the cue appears afterwards. This study examined the necessity of visual awareness of the cue in these phenomena. We found that when (...)
  13. Attention Vs Consciousness in the Visual Brain: Differences in Conception, Phenomenology, Behavior, Neuroanatomy, and Physiology.Bernard J. Baars - 1999 - Journal of General Psychology 126:224-33.
  14. Attention, Self, and Conscious Self-Monitoring.Bernard J. Baars - 1998 - In A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness. Cambridge University Press.
    ?In everday language, the word ?attention? implies control of access to consciousness, and we adopt this usage here. Attention itself can be either voluntary or automatic. This can be readily modeled in the theory. Further, a contrastive analysis of spontaneously self?attributed vs. self?alien experiences suggests that ?self? can be interpreted as the more enduring, higher levels of the dominant context hierarchy, which create continuity over the changing flow of events. Since context is by definition unconscious in GW theory, self in (...)
  15. Metaphors of Consciousness and Attention in the Brain.Bernard J. Baars - 1998 - Trends in Neurosciences 21:58-62.
  16. Some Essential Differences Between Consciousness and Attention, Perception, and Working Memory.Bernard J. Baars - 1997 - Consciousness and Cognition 6 (2-3):363-371.
    When “divided attention” methods were discovered in the 1950s their implications for conscious experience were not widely appreciated. Yet when people process competing streams of sensory input they show both selective processesandclear contrasts between conscious and unconscious events. This paper suggests that the term “attention” may be best applied to theselection and maintenanceof conscious contents and distinguished from consciousness itself. This is consistent with common usage. The operational criteria for selective attention, defined in this way, are entirely different from those (...)
  17. Attention: Selection, Awareness, and Control.A. D. Baddeley & Lawrence Weiskrantz (eds.) - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
  18. Defining an Ontology of Cognitive Control Requires Attention to Component Interactions.David Badre - 2011 - Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2):217-221.
    Cognitive control is not only componential, but those components may interact in complicated ways in the service of cognitive control tasks. This complexity poses a challenge for developing an ontological description, because the mapping may not be direct between our task descriptions and true component differences reflected in indicators. To illustrate this point, I discuss two examples: (a) the relationship between adaptive gating and working memory and (b) the recent evidence for a control hierarchy. From these examples, I argue that (...)
  19. Covert Shifts of Attention Enhance Vigilance.T. Bahri & R. Parasuraman - 1989 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 27 (6):490-490.
  20. On the Need for Attention-Aware Systems: Measuring Effects of Interruption on Task Performance, Error Rate, and Affective State.Brian P. Bailey & Joseph A. Konstan - 2006 - Computers in Human Behavior 22 (4):685-708.
  21. Commentary: Can Attention Capture Visual Awareness?Paolo Bartolomeo - 2002 - Psicologica International Journal of Methodology and Experimental Psychology 23 (2):314-317.
  22. Visual Awareness Relies on Exogenous Orienting of Attention: Evidence From Unilateral Neglect.Paolo Bartolomeo & Sylvie Chokron - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):975-976.
    Unilateral neglect stems from a relatively selective impairment of exogenous, or stimulus-related, orienting of attention. This neuropsychological evidence parallels “change blindness” experiments, in which normal individuals lack awareness of salient details in the visual scene as a consequence of their attention being exogenously attracted by a competing event, suggesting that visual consciousness requires the integrity of exogenous orienting of attention.
  23. Inhibiting Beliefs Demands Attention.Kevin Barton, Jonathan Fugelsang & Daniel Smilek - 2011 - Thinking and Reasoning 15 (3):250-267.
    Research across a variety of domains has found that people fail to evaluate statistical information in an atheoretical manner. Rather, people tend to evaluate statistical information in light of their pre-existing beliefs and experiences. The locus of these biases continues to be hotly debated. In two experiments we evaluate the degree to which reasoning when relevant beliefs are readily accessible (i.e., when reasoning with Belief-Laden content) versus when relevant beliefs are not available (i.e., when reasoning with Non-Belief-Laden content) differentially demands (...)
  24. Inhibiting Beliefs Demands Attention.Kevin Barton, Jonathan Fugelsang & Daniel Smilek - 2009 - Thinking and Reasoning 15 (3):250 – 267.
    Research across a variety of domains has found that people fail to evaluate statistical information in an atheoretical manner. Rather, people tend to evaluate statistical information in light of their pre-existing beliefs and experiences. The locus of these biases continues to be hotly debated. In two experiments we evaluate the degree to which reasoning when relevant beliefs are readily accessible (i.e., when reasoning with Belief-Laden content) versus when relevant beliefs are not available (i.e., when reasoning with Non-Belief-Laden content) differentially demands (...)
  25. Attention and Mental Primer.Jacob Beck & Keith Schneider - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (3).
    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 (...)
  26. Implicit Learning for Probable Changes in a Visual Change Detection Task.M. Beck, B. Angelone, D. Levin, M. Peterson & D. Varakin - 2008 - Consciousness and Cognition 17 (4):1192-1208.
    Previous research demonstrates that implicitly learned probability information can guide visual attention. We examined whether the probability of an object changing can be implicitly learned and then used to improve change detection performance. In a series of six experiments, participants completed 120–130 training change detection trials. In four of the experiments the object that changed color was the same shape on every trial. Participants were not explicitly aware of this change probability manipulation and change detection performance was not improved for (...)
  27. Parietal Cortex and Attention.M. Behrmann, J. J. Geng & S. Shomstein - 2004 - Current Opinion in Neurobiology 14 (2):212-217.
  28. The Psychological Meaning of Clearness.I. M. Bentley - 1904 - Mind 13 (50):242-253.
  29. Supplementary Report: Complexity and Orienting Responses with Longer Exposures.D. E. Berlyne - 1958 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 56 (2):183.
  30. The Effect of Labels on Visual Attention: An Eye Tracking Study.Catherine A. Best, Christopher W. Robinson & Vladimir M. Sloutsky - 2010 - In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society. pp. 1846--1851.
  31. Selective Attention as an Optimal Computational Strategy.G. Billock, C. Koch & D. Psaltis - 2005 - In Laurent Itti, Geraint Rees & John K. Tsotsos (eds.), Neurobiology of Attention. Academic Press. pp. 18--23.
  32. Visuospatial Sustained Attention.P. Bisiacchi & M. Proverbio - 1991 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 29 (6):511-511.
  33. Unilateral Neglect of Representational Space.E. Bisiach & C. Luzzatti - 1978 - Cortex 14:129-133.
  34. Neural Correlates of Attention and Distractibility in the Lateral Intraparietal Area.J. W. Bisley & M. E. Goldberg - 2006 - Journal of Neurophysiology 95 (3):1696-1717.
  35. Neuronal Activity in the Lateral Intraparietal Area and Spatial Attention.J. W. Bisley & M. E. Goldberg - 2003 - Science 299 (5603):81-86.
  36. Selective Attention in Early Dementia of Alzheimer Type.S. E. Black - unknown
    This study explored possible deficits in selective attention brought about by Dementia of Alzheimer Type (DAT). In three experiments, we tested patients with early DAT, healthy elderly, and young adults under low memory demands to assess perceptual filtering, conflict resolution, and set switching abilities. We found no evidence of impaired perceptual filtering nor evidence of impaired conflict resolution in early DAT. In contrast, early DAT patients did exhibit a global cost in set switching consistent with an inability to maintain the (...)
  37. Attention and Perceptual Adaptation.Ned Block & Susanna Siegel - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (4):205-206.
  38. Attention is More Than Prediction Precision [Commentary on Target Article].Howard Bowman, Marco Filetti, Brad Wyble & Christian Olivers - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (3):26 - 28.
    A cornerstone of the target article is that, in a predictive coding framework, attention can be modelled by weighting prediction error with a measure of precision. We argue that this is not a complete explanation, especially in the light of ERP (event-related potentials) data showing large evoked responses for frequently presented target stimuli, which thus are predicted.
  39. Attentional Biases for Emotional Faces.B. P. Bradley, K. Mogg, N. Millar, C. Bonham-Carter, E. Fergusson, J. Jenkins & M. Parr - 1997 - Cognition and Emotion 11 (1):25-42.
  40. The Topography of Visuospatial Attention as Revealed by a Novel Visual Field Mapping Technique.J. A. Brefczynski-Lewis, R. Datta, J. W. Lewis & E. A. DeYoe - 2009 - Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 21 (7):1447-1460.
  41. Relations Between the Physiology of Attention and the Physiology of Consciousness.Bruce Bridgeman - 1986 - Psychological Research 48:259-266.
  42. Attention and the Evolution of Intentional Communication.Ingar Brinck - 2001 - Pragmatics and Cognition 9 (2):259-277.
    Intentional communication is perceptually based and about attentional objects. Three attention mechanisms are distinguished: scanning, attention attraction, and attention-focusing. Attention-focusing directs the subject towards attentional objects. Attention-focusing is goal-governed (controlled by stimulus) or goal-intended (under the control of the subject). Attentional objects are perceptually categorised functional entities that emerge in the interaction between subjects and environment. Joint attention allows for focusing on the same attentional object simultaneously (mutual object-focused attention), provided that the subjects have focused on each other beforehand (subject-subject (...)
  43. Multisensory Processing and Perceptual Consciousness: Part II.Robert Briscoe - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.
    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.
  44. Stimulus Set and Response Set: Two Kinds of Selective Attention.D. E. Broadbent - 1970 - In D. Mostofsky (ed.), Attention: Contemporary Theory and Analysis. Appleton-Century-Crofts. pp. 51--60.
  45. Failures of Attention in Selective Listening.D. E. Broadbent - 1952 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 44 (6):428.
  46. Perception and Communication.Donald Broadbent - 1958 - Pergamon Press.
  47. Representationalism and the Determinacy of Visual Content.Ben Bronner - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):227-239.
    DETERMINACY is the claim that covert shifts in visual attention sometimes affect the determinacy of visual content (capital letters will distinguish the claim from the familiar word, 'determinacy'). Representationalism is the claim that visual phenomenology supervenes on visual representational content. Both claims are popular among contemporary philosophers of mind, and DETERMINACY has been employed in defense of representationalism. I claim that existing arguments in favor of DETERMINACY are inconclusive. As a result, DETERMINACY-based arguments in support of representationalism are not strong (...)
  48. Spatiotemporal Saliency: Towards a Hierarchical Representation of Visual Saliency.N. Bruce & J. Tsotsos - 2009 - In Attention in Cognitive Systems. pp. 98-111.
    In prior work, we put forth a model of visual saliency motivated by information theoretic considerations. In this effort we consider how this proposal extends to explain saliency in the spatiotemporal domain and further, propose a distributed representation for visual saliency comprised of localized hierarchical saliency computation. Evidence for the efficacy of the proposal in capturing aspects of human behavior is achieved via comparison with eye tracking data and a discussion of the role of neural coding in the determination of (...)
  49. Attention in Cognitive Systems.N. Bruce & J. Tsotsos - 2009
  50. Apertures, Draw, and Syntax: Remodeling Attention.Brian Bruya - 2010 - In Effortless Attention: A New Perspective in the Cognitive Science of Attention and Action. MIT Press. pp. 219.
    Because psychological studies of attention and cognition are most commonly performed within the strict confines of the laboratory or take cognitively impaired patients as subjects, it is difficult to be sure that resultant models of attention adequately account for the phenomenon of effortless attention. The problem is not only that effortless attention is resistant to laboratory study. A further issue is that because the laboratory is the most common way to approach attention, models resulting from such studies are naturally the (...)
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