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Prog Brain Res. 2008;168:65-75. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(07)68006-6.

Interdependence of attention and consciousness.

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Centre for Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad, Allahabad 211002, India.


Research on attention has been closely linked with possible advances in the study of consciousness. Various theories and models have been proposed for attention in the past 50 years. Behavioural, computational, and neuroscientific approaches have been successful in improving our understanding of attentional processes. Given the current status of attention research, what can we say about the relationship between attention and consciousness? This paper discusses the possible relationships between attention and consciousness. Findings from cognitive science and neuroscience relevant to the elucidation of this relationship are discussed. Recent findings from phenomena that have a bearing on this relationship such as inattentional amnesia, change blindness, attentional blink, perceptual stabilization, and afterimages are described. The implications of the results of these phenomena for attention and awareness are also discussed. It is proposed that top-down attention is not a unitary phenomena and such a characterization may provide a way to interpret some of the results from these findings.

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