Higher Cognition 4 - Attention & Awareness PBS5

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  1. Attention refers to the process by which we __ our __. Also, working memory seems to require __ __.
    • focus
    • awareness
    • conscious access
  2. What are the 3 functions of attentional processes?
    • Orienting function toward environment
    • Partial control of the content of consciousness
    • Maintaining alertness
  3. What is the Global Workspace model and who proposed it?
    • Baars
    • Based on observation that human brain comprises several specialised systems (for perception, attention, language etc) each of which carries out its task at a level that does not reach the threshold of consciousness.
    • Consciousness becomes possible when these various subsystems pool certain results of their operations in a single, global workspace. When expressed in this forum, they become accessible to brain as a whole, and therefore conscious.
    • Serves as a site for information exchange. Other subsystems can take advantage of this available info too.
    • akin to a form of momentary working memory
    • accounts for various evidence for interaction between conscious and unconscious processes observed in various phenomena
  4. Who gave a neuroanatomical account of this global workspace model? What was it?
    • Dehaene et al
    • Global neuronal workspace hypothesis (GNW) - perceptual, attention, memory, value, and motor areas interconnect to form higher-level unified space where info is shared
    • Pyramidal neurons of the cerebral cortex - with their long axons that can connect areas of cortex that are distant from one another
    • Esp in thick layers II/III - which is particularly dense in PFC
  5. In contrast to Baars's model, what did Dehaene's model do?
    • Baars's model simply distinguished one conscious state from multiple unconscious ones, but Dehaene's model distinguishes between 3 possible states of activation:
    • 1. subliminal processing: not enough bottom-up activation to trigger wide scale activation of network
    • 2. Preconscious state: enough activation to access consciousness, but is temporarily kept from doing so by lack of top-down attention
    • 3. Conscious state: preconscious stimulus receives enough attention to cross consciousness threshold
  6. What is the function of consciousness that makes it different from attention?
    • It does not select information but summarises all relevant info 
    • making this compact summary accessible to other stages of cognition and brain areas 
    • (eg. planning stages, detecting anomalies, decision, language, rational thought)
    • This integrative aspect is emphasised by the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness (Tononi, 2004)
  7. So, the integrated, connectionist model of consciousness is emphasised in the integrated information theory of consciousness. Just briefly explain this modl.
    A mathematical model intended to describe and quantify the nature of consciousness. It is based on the idea that the consciousness of a system may be measured by the amount of integrated information.
  8. Think of selective attention as an __, consciousness as a ___.
    • attention as analyser
    • consciousness as a synthesiser
  9. Give examples of percepts and behaviours that can be found without consciousness. One group for those that doesn't require top-down attention either and one group requiring top-down attention.
    • No conscious/no attention: formation of afterimages, rapid vision (<120ms)
    • No conscious/attention: priming, adaptation, visual search, processing of objects, blindsight
  10. How about those that require consciousness but not top-down attention and those that require both?
    • Conscious/no attention: pop out, iconic memory
    • Conscious/attention: working memory, detection of unfamiliar stimuli, full reportability
  11. What is a good example of how awareness and attention can be dissociated (have one without the other)?
    • Blindsight (De Gelder et al)
    • Blindsight patients (patient TN with bilateral lesion of striate cortex - the 'where' stream through superior colliculus intact, but not 'what' stream from striate cortex - that is why it is unconscious.) 
    • Can navigate a room with obstacles and avoid them without consciously realising if they are really there or what they are.
    • Attention exist without awareness - exogenous
    • Image Upload 1
  12. What can inattentional blindness tell us about attention and awareness?
    • Simons & Chabris (1999) famous experiment 
    • Many observers failed to see a gorilla-suited man walking past scene if they were focusing on how many passes were being made in that scene. 
    • Attention to the scene, but selectively, and thus without awareness of a major change.
  13. What are the important points about modularity and the mind?
    • The brain seems to organised in a modular fashion
    • However, conscious part of the brain/mind seems to be non-modular
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Higher Cognition 4 - Attention & Awareness PBS5
Lec4 - Attention & Awareness
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