Visual Attention and Consciousness
Psychology Press – 2013 – 166 pages
Consciousness is perhaps one of the greatest mysteries in the universe. This ambitious book begins with a philosophical approach to consciousness, examining some key questions such as what is meant by the term "conscious," and how this applies to vision.
The book then explores major visual phenomena related to attention and conscious experience—including filling-in processes, aftereffects, multi-stability, forms of divided attention, models of visual attention, priming effects, types of attentional blindness and various visual disorders. For each phenomenon, the biological and cognitive level research is reviewed. Themes touched upon throughout are the relation between consciousness and attention, automatic vs. willful processes, singularity vs. multiplicity, and looking without seeing. The book concludes with an evolutionary approach, describing possible functions that visual consciousness may serve and how those may affect the way we see.
The systematic review of key topics and the multitude of perspectives make this book an ideal primary or ancillary text for graduate courses in perception, vision, consciousness, or philosophy of mind.
"Friedenberg manages to compress quite a lot of thought provoking material into a modestly size book. There is enough general information here to grasp the key concepts and yet it does not suffer from a lack of detail. An educated reader who wants to learn this material on his or her own should have no trouble following along. Undergraduate and graduate students can also benefit from this text that is written in an engaging way, covering classic literature on visual cognition and consciousness as well as newer, exciting developments."
-Frederick Bonato, Ph.D., Saint Peter's College, USA
1. Introduction. 2. Neural Underpinnings. 3. Under Construction. 4: I’m Getting Tired of This. 5. Same But Different. 6. One or Many? 7. Varieties of Visual Attention. 8. Your Attention Please. 9. Now You See it, Now You Don’t. 10. Looking without Seeing. 11. The Damaged Brain: Agnosias. 12. The Damaged Brain: Other Disorders. 13. Conclusion.
Jay Friedenberg is Professor and Chair of Psychology at Manhattan College. He has previously written textbooks on artificial intelligence, dynamical systems and cognitive science, and he has published articles on center estimation, symmetry perception and the perceived aesthetics of geometric forms.