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, D.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.)
Anderson, B. (2011) ‘There is no such thing as attention' Frontiers in psychology, 2: 246.
(Suggests that there may be several conceptual problems in current psychological theories of attention.)
Armstong, K. (2011) ‘Covert Spatial Attention and Saccade Planning' In C. Mole, D. Smithies and W. Wu (eds) Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(Presents a series of psychological experiments showing that the neural circuitry involved in the allocation of attention overlaps with that responsible for the planning of eye-movements.)
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, the most complete statement of his philosophical position.)
Bommarito, N. (2013) 'Modesty as a Virtue of Attention' Philosophical Review 122 (1): 93-117.
(Argues that the paradoxical features in some philosophical accounts of modesty can be avoided if modesty is understood as a virtue that essentially depends on inattentiveness to, rather than ignorance of, one’s own good qualities.)
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.)
Cohen, M. A., Cavanagh, P., Chun, M. M. and Nakayama, K. (2012) ‘The attentional requirements of consciousness‘, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16 (8): 411-417.
(Disputes the adequacy of the evidence offered in Li et al. 2002, for establishing the possibility of consciousness without attention.)
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.
(A controversial experiment, purporting to show that people who are paying attention to one stream of speech while ignoring another know nothing about the content of the unattended stream, but that, if they have previously received electric shocks when hearing the name of a city, they do show a slight fear response when a city is named in this unattended stream.)
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).)
Debus, D. (2013) ‘Losing Oneself (in a Good Way): On the Value of Full Attention‘, European Journal of Philosophy, doi: 10.1111/ejop.12045.
(Develops arguments in support of Simone Weil’s conjecture that there is value in any state of mind in which the attention is fully focused on some one thing.)
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.)
Desimone, R. (1998) ‘Visual attention mediated by biased competition in extrastriate visual cortex‘, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 353: 1245–55.
(Argues for the claim that there are several levels of processing at which different visual stimuli compete to be represented, and for the claim that attention is directed at whichever stimuli dominate in these competitions.)
Deutsch, J. A. and Deutsch, D. (1963) ‘Attention: some theoretical considerations‘, Psychological review, 70 (1): 80-90.
(The locus classicus for the ‘Late Selection’ theory of attention.)
Duncan, J. (1998) ‘Converging levels of analysis in the cognitive neuroscience of visual attention‘, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 353: 1307–17.
(A companion piece to Desimone 1998, in which Duncan presents several lines of evidence in support of the competition-based theory that Desimone sets out.)
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.)
Jennings, C.D. (2015) ‘Consciousness Without Attention‘, Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 1(02), 276-295.
(Critically reviews much of the evidence that has been taken to indicate the possibility of consciousness in the absence of attention, before suggesting, on phenomenological grounds, that such consciousness must indeed be possible.)
Kentridge, R. W., Nijboer, T. C and Heywood, C. A. (2008) ‘Attended but unseen: visual attention is not sufficient for visual awareness‘, Neuropsychologia, 46 (3): 864-869.
(Provides evidence indicating that a patient with blindness resulting from damage to the visual processing centres of his brain, but who shows some residual unconscious visual processing, may be able to pay attention to parts of space for which he has no conscious experience.)
Kentridge, R. W. (2011) ‘Attention Without Awareness', in Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds) Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 228-247.
(A survey of empirical evidence for the existence of cases in which it is possible to attend to a thing without being conscious of that thing, or of the fact that one is attending to it.)
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.)
Li, F., Van Rullen, R., Koch, C. and Perona, P. (2002) ‘Rapid natural scene categorization in the near absence of attention.’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA. 99 (14): 9596-9601.
(Reports a series of experiments in which participants were given a highly attention-demanding task, and required to perform this task with such focused attention that they were unable to recognize the orientations of coloured circles that were presented concurrently in their visual periphery. These participants were nonetheless capable of identifying the presence of animals in photographs of natural scenes that were very briefly flashed in the same peripheral locations. This gives some of the best experimental evidence that it is possible to be conscious of stimuli to which one is paying no attention.)
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)
Mack, A. and Rock, I. (1998) Inattentional Blindness, Cambridge MA: The MIT Press.
(An influential presentation of a series of experiments showing the extent to which people can be unaware of stimuli that are presented in conditions where their attention is otherwise occupied.)
C. (2006) ‘Self, Attention and The Sovereignty of Good' in Anne Rowe (ed.) Iris Murdoch: A Reassessment Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 72-84.
(Explains the central role of attention in Iris Murdoch’s conception of the virtues.)
C. (2008) ‘Attention and Consciousness', Journal of Consciousness Studies.
(Critically reviews the empirical research that had been taken to support the claim that attention is necessary for consciousness, but that consciousness is not necessary for attention.)
C. (2011) Attention is Cognitive Unison, New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
(Presents and defends the theory that there is no process of attention, and that attention should instead be understood as occurring when quite various processes operate in unison)
C. (2014) ‘Attention to Unseen Objects', Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21 (11-12): 41-56.
(Take the evidence from Norman, Heywood and Kentridge, 2013, to show that – contrary to the position defended in Mole, 2008, the weight of evidence now indicates that consciousness of a thing is not necessary for attention to it.)
I. (1970) The Sovereignty of Good London: Routledge. (Page references are given to 2001 ‘Routledge Classics’ Edition).
(Collects three essays in which Murdoch’s attempts to reintroduce certain psychological notions to philosophical thinking about morality. Attention figures prominently in the essay entitled ‘The Idea of Perfection’; humility figures prominently in the essay entitled ‘The Sovereignty of Good Over Other Concepts’.)
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.)
Norman, L. J., Heywood, C. A. nd Kentridge, R. W. (2013) ‘Object-based attention without awareness‘, Psychological Science, 24 (6): 836-843.
(Experimental evidence that attention-grabbing cue can draw the attention to an object, even when that object is not consciously experienced.)
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.)
Prinz, J. (2012) The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(Surveys a broad range of empirical and philosophical considerations indicating that the relationship between attention and consciousness is an intimate one, and develops a theory of consciousness in which this relation is crucial.)
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.)
Simons, D. and Chabris, C. (1999) ‘Gorillas in our Midst’ Perception 28(8): 1059-1074.
(Presents the experiment in which participants are found to be surprisingly unreliable detectors of a person in a gorilla suit, if this person appears when their attention is directed elsewhere.)
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.)
Taylor, J. H. (2015) ‘Against unifying accounts of attention’ Erkenntnis, 80(1): 39-56.
(Argues against four extant philosophical theories of attention, before suggesting that ‘attention’ should be taken as a family resemblance term.)
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.)
Weil, S. (1947) La Pesanteur et la grace, Paris: Plon; trans. E. Crauford, Gravity and Grace, London: Routledge, 1952.
(A posthumously published collection of aphorisms, abstracted from Weil’s notebooks. Almost all of the remarks that pertain immediately to the topic of attention are gathered in the section entitled ‘Attention and the Will’.)
Weil, S. (1959) Leçons de philosophie, Roanne 1933–4, Paris: Plon; trans. H. Price with an introduction by R. Rees, Lectures on Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978. (Page references are to 1978 English translation).
(A collection of somewhat fragmentary notes recording Weil’s early philosophical thinking, including a collection of suggestive remarks about attention.)
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.)
Watzl, S. (2011) ‘The Philosophical Significance of Attention', Philosophy Compass 6 (10):722-733.
(Discusses the relationships between attention and consciousness, attention and agency, and attention and reference).
Wu, W. (2011) ‘Attention as Selection for Action’, in Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies and Wayne Wu, Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 97-116.
(Makes the case for thinking that attention should be understood, not only as a perceptual phenomenon, but with reference to its role in the coordination of action.)
Wu, W. (2014) Attention London: Routledge.
(An accessible introduction to philosophical and psychological research on the topic of attention, presenting the case for understanding attention by reference to its role in the selectivity required for acting in complex environments.)