unconscious attention

Kevin Spencer kspencer at s.psych.uiuc.edu
Tue Nov 12 19:54:53 EST 1996

kenneth paul collins <KPCollins at postoffice.worldnet.att.net> writes:

>Kevin Spencer wrote:

>> As far as the field of human information processing is concerned, attention
>> requires awareness of the to-be-attended stimuli.  I've never heard of the
>> term "unconscious attention" before.  Perhaps you meant "unconscious
>> processing", which is another matter.  It has long been known that stimuli
>> can be processed to various levels of analysis without the awareness of the
>> subject. 

>Kevin, I'm sorry, I must disagree with you. Our brains operate upon many 
>different "streams" of data in parallel. "Consciousness" shifts among these in 
>accord with the demands of one's momentary environment. But the "streams" are 
>all being "attended" to simultaneously or else the transitions among them 
>would occur too slowly to assure survival.


>It's extremely important for all of this to be gotten straight because it is 
>the "unconscious attenting" to such streams which are merely familiar that 
>underpins the nationalism which leads to war, and which underpin racial and 
>ethnic prejudice and the tragedies associated with such. ken collins

Kenneth, I was referring to the literature on human information processing
and the cognitive neuroscience of attention.  My use of the terms
"unconscious" and "attention" are grounded in that literature, and it seems
from your post that you use these terms differently in your theory.  If you
disagree with my above statement, then you may be disagreeing with well over
40 years of research and applications.  That is a choice you are certainly
free to make, but I doubt you would be making it with any substantial
experimental support.

Kevin Spencer
Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory and Beckman Institute
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
kspencer at p300.cpl.uiuc.edu

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