Introduction to research topic: Attention and consciousness in different senses

Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Jeroen Van Boxtel

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


The question of the origin of consciousness has engaged scientists and philosophers for centuries. Early scholars relied on introspection, leading some to conclude that attention is necessary for consciousness, and in some cases equating attention and consciousness. Such a tight relationship between attention and consciousness has also been proposed by many modern theorists (Posner, 1994; Merikle and Joordens, 1997; Mack and Rock, 1998; Chun and Wolfe, 2000; O'Regan and Noe, 2001; Mole, 2008; De Brigard and Prinz, 2010; Prinz, 2011; Cohen et al., 2012). The relationship between attention and consciousness has come under increasing scrutiny with the development of neuroscientific methods. In modern neuroscience, the effects of attention are often objectively defined and measured as reduced reaction time and improved performance. Similarly, conscious awareness of an object is established by a subjective report in combination with objective forced-choice performance (Seth et al., 2008; Sandberg et al., 2011). With these measures in place, a variety of methods has been used to manipulate attention (e.g., cueing, divided attention, etc.) and consciousness [e.g., masking, crowding, and binocular rivalry (Kim and Blake, 2005)]. These empirical studies have culminated in recent proposals that attention and consciousness are supported by different neuronal processes and they are not necessarily correlated all the time (Iwasaki, 1993; Baars, 1997; Hardcastle, 1997; Kentridge et al., 1999; Naccache et al., 2002; Lamme, 2003; Woodman and Luck, 2003; Bachmann, 2006; Koch and Tsuchiya, 2007; van Boxtel et al., 2010). Our original motivation to edit this Research Topic was threefold: (1) to gather and collect current, diverse views on the relationship between consciousness and attention, (2) to invite reviews on consciousness and attention in non-vision modalities, (3) and to invite empirical studies of consciousness and attention. As summarized below, our goals are largely achieved thanks to 17 contributions to this issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction to research topic: Attention and consciousness in different senses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this