Perception, attention, and consciousness

Velmans, Max. 1999. Perception, attention, and consciousness. In: C. Taddei-Ferretti and C. Musio, eds. Neuronal Bases and Psychological Aspects of Consciousness. River Edge, New Jersey: New World Scientific Press, pp. 111-124. ISBN 9789810235970 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

It is common to think of perception of stimuli at the focus of attention as being "conscious." However, deciding what is conscious about perception is not as easy as it seems. We need to understand where in the information processing sequence (from input to output) consciousness of the input arises, how conscious processing differs from preconscious processing, and the different senses in which a process may be said to be "conscious." Partial dissociations of focal attention from consciousness (in blindsight, implicit learning and memory, and hypnotic analgesia) suggest that consciousness relates to a late-arising stage of focal-attentive processing concerned with disseminating the results of input analysis. Perception of stimuli at the focus of attention may be said to be "conscious" in the sense that focal-attentive analysis results in a conscious experience. However, it is not conscious in the sense that one is conscious of the processing, nor in the sense that consciousness has a causal influence on the processing. Consciousness of familiar stimuli, rather than having a causal influence on input analysis, appears to follow it, in human information processing.

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25 Apr 2019 10:49

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25 Apr 2019 10:53


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