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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The English word ‘attention’ can be used loosely. As a tactic for preventing an enquiry into attention’s relationship to consciousness from lapsing into ill-definition, we shall treat ‘attention’ as a term to be defined by the role that is assigned to it in our explanations of empirically established psychological phenomena (especially those involving the modulation of reaction times). We will review evidence that shows that such modulations are associated with processing that stands in various relations to consciousness. The psychological phenomena that explain such modulations should not be identified with the causes of consciousness. Nor do they operate exclusively within the field of conscious awareness. If the explanation of those phenomena is to cast explanatory light on how and when consciousness occurs, it will need to do so in the context of some more complex explanatory theory.

Keywords: Attention, reaction time, inattentive consciousness, conscious processing, visual cognition

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