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Attention and consciousness: two distinct brain processes

Koch, Christof and Tsuchiya, Naotsugu (2007) Attention and consciousness: two distinct brain processes. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11 (1). pp. 16-22. ISSN 1364-6613.

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The close relationship between attention and consciousness has led many scholars to conflate these processes. This article summarizes psychophysical evidence, arguing that top-down attention and consciousness are distinct phenomena that need not occur together and that can be manipulated using distinct paradigms. Subjects can become conscious of an isolated object or the gist of a scene despite the near absence of top-down attention; conversely, subjects can attend to perceptually invisible objects. Furthermore, top-down attention and consciousness can have opposing effects. Such dissociations are easier to understand when the different functions of these two processes are considered. Untangling their tight relationship is necessary for the scientific elucidation of consciousness and its material substrate.

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Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Additional Information:Available online 28 November 2006. Owing to space limitations, we could not discuss all the relevant literature and apologize to those whose work was not cited here. We thank R. Blake, N. Block, A. Cleeremans, S. He, Y. Jiang, R. Kanai, V. Lamme, C. Paffen, and M. Snodgrass for discussion. We thank the participants of our tutorial at ASSC10 Oxford for their feedback. This research was supported by the NIMH, the NSF, the Keck Foundation, the Moore Foundation, and the Tom Slick Research Awards from the Mind Science Foundation.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
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Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Tom Slick Research Awards of the Mind Science FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130816-103240953
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Official Citation:Christof Koch, Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Attention and consciousness: two distinct brain processes, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 11, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 16-22, ISSN 1364-6613, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40556
Deposited By: KLAB Import
Deposited On:16 Jan 2008 03:13
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 13:01

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