Allport, D.A. (1980) ‘Attention and Performance‘, in G.
Claxton (ed.) Cognitive Psychology: New Directions, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
(An early review of the role of attention-studies in cognitive science by an influential commentator and researcher.)
Allport, A. (1993) ‘Attention and Control: Have We Been Asking the Wrong Questions? A Critical Review of Twenty-five Years‘, in S.
Kornblum and D.
Meyer (eds), Attention and Performance XIV: Synergies in Experimental Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, and Cognitive Neuroscience, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
(Uncovers a number of assumptions underlying the contemporary research into attention, and deploys a large range of neuroscientific evidence in arguing that those assumptions are false.)
Berkeley, G. (1710) A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
(Berkeley’s clearest and most thorough account of his objections to the existence of abstract ideas can be found in the introduction to this, his most complete statement of his philosophical position.)
Bradley, F.H. (1886) ‘Is There a Special Activity of Attention?’ Mind
11 (43): 305–323.
(A short article focussed on the negative claim that attention is not an activity in its own right. A better source for Bradley’s own view is his 1902 essay.)
Bradley, F.H. (1902) ‘On Active Attention‘, Mind (n.s.) 11 (41): 1–30.
(A reasonably clear statement of Bradley’s view of attention, focussing on those forms of attention in which the will is exercised. Differs in some important ways from the view found in Bradley (1886) – probably due to the influence of William James (1890).)
Broadbent, D. (1958) Perception and Communication, London: Pergamon Press.
(An important and influential book in the establishment of cognitive psychology.)
Campbell, J. (2002) Reference and Consciousness, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(Presents a theory of the role played by attention in making demonstrative thought possible.)
Cherry, C. (1953) ‘Some Experiments on the Recognition of Speech, with One and with Two Ears’ Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (25): 975–979.
(An early and influential piece of experimental work, showing that subjects whose attention is kept fixed on a stream of speech presented to one ear are unable to detect the content of speech played to the other ear.)
Corteen, R.S. and Dunn, D. (1974) ‘Shock Associated Words in a Nonattended Message: A Test for Momentary Awareness‘, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 102 (6): 1143–1144.
(Experimental subjects who are paying attention to one stream of speech while ignoring another know nothing about the content of the unattended stream, but if they have received electric shocks when hearing the name of a city, they do show a slight fear response if a city is named in the unattended stream of speech.)
Dawson, M.E. and Schell, A.M. (1982) ‘Electrodermal Responses to Attended and Nonattended Significant Stimuli during Dichotic Listening‘, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 8 (2): 315–324.
(A more carefully controlled examination of the effect described in Corteen and Dunn (1974).)
Descartes, R. (1642) Meditations on First Philosophy, in Vol. 2 of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, ed. and trans.
Murdoch and A.
Kenny, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984–1991.
(One of the most accessible and compelling works of epistemology ever written.)
Driver, J. (2001) ‘A Selective Review of Selective Attention Research from the Past Century‘, British Journal of Psychology, 92 (1): 53–78.
(Reviews a wide range of empirical work in a way that is reasonably accessible to the non-specialist reader.)
Driver, J. and Tipper, S.P. (1989). ‘On the Nonselectivity of “Selective” Seeing: Contrasts Between Interference and Priming in Selective Attention‘, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, (15): 304–314.
(An elegant experimental demonstration of the encoding of semantic properties of unattended stimuli: subjects who have recently been ignoring a picture of a guitar – and who do not know that the picture they have been ignoring was of a guitar – are subsequently slower when asked to name other musical instruments.)
Eilan, N., Roessler, J. and McCormack, T. (2005) Joint Attention, Communication and Other Minds, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(A useful and diverse interdisciplinary collection of essays on the role of joint attention in communication and in the development of mutual understanding.)
Geach, P. (1957) Mental Acts: Their Content and Their Objects, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
(A concise and enjoyable articulation of various issues in the philosophy of mind, with an emphasis on those that could not be satisfactorily handled by the behaviour-based accounts of the mind made popular by Ryle and Wittgenstein.)
Hamilton, W.H. (1876) Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic
Vol. II: Lectures on Logic, New York: Sheldon and Company.
(A valuable record of what was regarded in the nineteenth century as orthodox philosophical thinking.)
Hatfield, G. (1995) ‘Attention in early Scientific Psychology‘, in Richard Wright (ed.) Visual Attention, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(An excellent discussion of attention, as it figures in the thought of early psychologists, especially strong on Christian Wolff’s contribution.)
Home, H. (Lord Kames) (1762) Elements of Criticism, Edinburgh: Kincaid & Bell and London: Millar.
(An enjoyable book of Scottish Enlightenment thinking, covering a wide range of topics.)
Hurley, S. (1998) Consciousness in Action, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
(A sophisticated attempt to place causal interactions between a creature and its environment at the centre of philosophical theorizing about the mind.)
James, W. (1890) The Principles of Psychology, New York: Dover, 1981.
(One of the most important texts in the history of the science of psychology. Much of it remains interesting and accessible. The discussion of attention is largely contained in Chapter XI.)
Koch, C. and Tsuchiya, N. (2007) ‘Attention and Consciousness: Two Distinct Brain Processes‘, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11 (1): 16–22.
(Reviews a range of recent empirical literature on the attention/consciousness relation, arguing that this literature speaks in favour of the view that attention and consciousness are independent and that neither necessitates the another.)
Lavie, N. (1995) ‘Perceptual Load as a Necessary Condition for Selective Attention‘, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 21 (3): 451–468.
(Presents a theory of attention according to which attention arises from bottlenecks in processing capacity, but which allows that these bottlenecks might occur in different places depending on the demands of the subjects task.)
Locke, J. (1689) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed.
Nidditch, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975.
(Locke’s theory of attention as a mode of thinking can be found in Book II Chap. XIX)
Moore, T., Armstrong
K. and Fallah
M. (2003) ‘Visuomotor Origins of Covert Spatial Attention‘, Neuron, 40 (4): 671–683.
(A thorough review of the pre-motor theory of attention, including an historical survey and a discussion of recent experimental work.)
Noë, A. (2004) Action in Perception, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
(An accessible account of the attempt to account for perception by reference to the sensori-motor skills of perceivers.)
Parasuraman, R. (1998) The Attentive Brain, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
(A collection of essays approaching attention from a variety of perspectives. Parasuraman’s introduction is especially useful.)
Posner, M. (1980) ‘Orienting of Attention‘, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 32: 3–25.
(Report of an experimental study showing that the region to which attention is paid may be different from that towards which the eyes are directed.)
Posner, M. (1994) ‘Attention: The Mechanisms of Consciousness‘, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91: 7398–7403.
(An unusually clear example of attention research being construed as a direct route to the study of consciousness.)
Prinz, J. (2007) ‘Mental Pointing‘, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 14 (9/10): 184–211.
(Presents a view of consciousness that entails that attention is necessary for consciousness, and reviews some relevant empirical results. Concise and accessible.)
Ribot, T.H. (1889) Psychologie de l’attention, Paris: Librairie Félix Alcan,trans. as The Psychology of Attention, Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 1890.
(Discusses the role of attention in the explanation of various phenomena including mental illness. Notable for its behaviourist elements.)
Ryle, G. (1949) The Concept of Mind, London: Hutchinson.
(Attention is one of the phenomena that is especially difficult to account for within the behaviourist framework that Ryle sets out. His discussion of attention is given under the rubric of ‘heed concepts’ in Chapter V, §4.)
Schwitzgebel, E. (2007) ‘Do You Have a Constant Tactile Experience of your Feet in your Shoes? Or, Is Experience Limited to What’s in Attention?’ Journal of Consciousness Studies, 14 (3): 5–35.
(Highlights the methodological difficulties that one faces in trying to investigate the attention/consciousness relation, and presents the results of a study intended to avoid them.)
Stewart, D. (1792) Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, Cambridge, MA: J. Monroe & Co.
(Chapter II argues that attention is a distinct faculty of the mind, involved in memory, and in the production of action. Stewart’s thinking is sometimes reckoned to be derivative, but his writing is unusually clear and often enjoyable.)
Treisman, A. (2003) ‘Consciousness and Perceptual Binding‘, in A.
Cleermans (ed.) The Unity of Consciousness: Binding, Integration and Dissociation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(A non-technical presentation of Treisman’s highly influential ‘Feature Integration Theory’ of attention, with discussion of the possibility of applying this theory to the explanation of the unity of consciousness.)
Ward, J. (1918) Psychological Principles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(The introspective, phenomenological approach to scientific psychology was already beginning to be unfashionable at the time Ward’s book was published, but the book is nonetheless a valuable record of what was once an influential way of thinking.)
White, A. (1964) Attention, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
(A survey of various attention-related concepts, including, noticing, awareness, consciousness, interest and enjoyment. Strongly influenced by Ryle, and by the natural-language approach to philosophy.)
Wittgenstein, L. (1967) Zettel, ed.
Anscombe and G.H.
von Wright, trans.
Anscombe, Oxford: Blackwell.
(A collection of remarks on various subjects, many pertaining to the philosophy of psychology. Attention is discussed in §§90–91 and 673–674.)
Wolff, C. (1732) ‘Empirical Psychology, Treated According to the Scientific Method‘, Frankfurt and Leipzig: Officina Libraria Rengeriana.
(An important text in the establishment of psychology as an empirical science.)