A Function-Centered Taxonomy of Visual Attention

Ronald A Rensink, University of British Columbia


In P. Coates and S. Coleman (Eds.),  Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception, and Consciousness (pp. 347-375).  Oxford: University Press.  2015.   [pdf]


It is suggested that the relationship between visual attention and conscious visual experience can be simplified by distinguishing different aspects of both visual attention and visual experience. A set of principles is first proposed for any possible taxonomy of the processes involved in visual attention. A particular taxonomy is then put forward that describes five such processes, each with a distinct function and characteristic mode of operation. Based on these, three separate kinds—or possibly grades—of conscious visual experience can be distinguished, each associated with a particular combination of attentional processes.


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