Do consciousness and attention refer to different aspects of the same core phenomenon, or do they correspond to distinct functions?


This is an article I wrote about the topic ‘consciousness’ and the mind-body problem. The abstract reads as follows:

Consciousness is a fascinating and multi-faceted phenomenon, which is closely related to other well-studied domains such as visual attention, working memory, motivation, attention, decision making, language, etc. Several theories of consciousness claim that there are separate neural correlates of consciousness experience and cognitive function, and that such a separation is a prerequisite for using the term ‘consciousness’ at all. In support of these claims are numerous research findings of awareness without attention and attention without awareness. If consciousness and attention relate to distinct underlying mechanisms, then attention and consciousness should be considered as distinct entities. On the other hand, if they rely on shared neural mechanisms, then they should be considered as the same concept. This paper reviews neurophysiological findings regarding the relationship between attention and consciousness, concluding that it is in principle possible to separate the neural correlates of consciousness from the neural correlates of cognitive functions, and that they seemingly interact at the behavioral level. But while dissociative theories of consciousness exclusively focus on how the brain forms and maintains representations, they still fail to explain how those representations are experienced and accessed by the individual.

The article can be found here:

On the Neural Mechanisms Subserving Consciousness and Attention

This entry was posted in Consciousness, Diplopi, Neuroscience, Perception, Psychology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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