What is diffuse attention?

Mind and Language 38 (2):374-393 (2023)
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This article defends a theory of diffuse attention and distinguishes it from focal attention. My view is motivated by evidence from psychology and neuroscience, which suggests that we can deploy visual selective attention in at least two ways: by focusing on a small number of items, or by diffusing attention over a group of items taken as a whole. I argue that diffuse attention is selective and can be object‐based. It enables a subject to select an object to guide behavior, albeit in a different way than focusing does.



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Adrienne Prettyman
Bryn Mawr College

Citations of this work

Attention as a patchwork concept.Henry Taylor - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (3):1-25.

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References found in this work

The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 11 (3):506-507.
Consciousness cannot be separated from function.Michael A. Cohen & Daniel C. Dennett - 2011 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (8):358--364.
Why visual attention and awareness are different.Victor A. F. Lamme - 2003 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):12-18.

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