The Attention Schema Theory of Consciousness

Authored by: Michael S. Graziano

The Routledge Handbook Of Consciousness

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138936218
eBook ISBN: 9781315676982
Adobe ISBN:


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Over the past several years, my colleagues and I outlined a novel approach to understanding the brain basis of consciousness. That approach was eventually called the Attention Schema Theory (AST) (Graziano 2010; Graziano and Kastner 2011; Graziano 2013; Graziano 2014; Kelly at al. 2014; Webb and Graziano 2015; Webb, Kean, and Graziano 2016; Webb et al. 2016). The core concept is extremely simple. The brain not only uses the process of attention to focus its resources onto select signals, but it also constructs a description, or representation, of attention. The brain is a model builder – it builds models of items in the world that are useful to monitor and predict. Attention, being an important aspect of the self, is modeled by an attention schema.

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