Attention: Selective Attention and Consciousness

P. D L Howe*, K. K. Evans, R. Pedersini, T. S. Horowitz, J. M. Wolfe, M. A. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article discusses the influence of selective attention on consciousness. It is argued that attention is necessary, although not sufficient, for the awareness of the relationship or conjunction of different aspects of a scene or object. It is suggested that a primary function of attention is to permit the binding of features into recognizable objects. When attention is occupied elsewhere, there is a degree of awareness of the presence of visual features, though not of their relationships, and this may allow one to perform certain simple tasks such as determining whether an image includes either an animal or a vehicle.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Consciousness
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780123738738
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Awareness
  • Ballint's syndrome
  • Binding problem
  • Blindsight
  • Condillac
  • Feature integration theory
  • Feature maps
  • Illusory conjunctions
  • Object recognition
  • Pop-out
  • Postattentive
  • Preattentive
  • Reverse hierarchy theory

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