Attention happens

I’m currently reading Michael Graziano’s book ‘Consciousness and the Social Brain’, which I hope to give a review of sometime soon.  In the book, he makes a distinction between attention and awareness.  Attention is something that happens when one of the competing collections of signals in the brain wins, and awareness is data in the mind about that attention.  However, attention can happen without awareness.  Pretty interesting stuff.

Anyway, in that frame of mind, I came across HuffPost’s focus on this TED talk with Apollo Robbins demonstrating the art of misdirection, essentially controlling attention sans awareness.

4 thoughts on “Attention happens

  1. Invisible gorillas, they’re everywhere:

    ‘Gorillas in our midst: sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events’, Simons/Chabris 1999

    … fortunately the unconscious is always paying attention and intervenes as necessary to ensure survival.


    1. Thanks. For some reason, this reminds me of how much kids like to watch the same movie over and over again. I’ve always suspected it was because they were picking up new details on each pass, details that adults ignored since we had already categorized them into our existing frameworks. Frameworks the kids are still building. I wonder if kids would see the gorilla.


      1. My guess is that as long as they had sufficient self-control to maintain their attention on the counting task that the 50+/-% rate would hold true – I don’t know though, sometimes seems as if they don’t miss a thing!


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