Selective Attention and Consciousness: Investigating Their Relation Through Computational Modelling
The present study aimed at investigating the possible connection between conscious awareness and attention through the implementation of a neurocomputational model of visual selective attention. The development of the model was based on recent neurophysiological findings that document the synchronization of neural activity in cortical areas of the brain and the presence of competitive interactions among stimuli at the early stages of visual processing. The model was used to simulate the findings of a behavioural experiment conducted by Naccache et al. in Psychol Sci 13:416–424 (2002), which have sparked a debate on the possible links between attention and consciousness. The model reproduced closely the pattern of the behavioural data while incorporating mechanisms that take into account the neural activity representing the early visual processing of stimuli and the effects of top–down attention. Thus, by adopting a computational approach, we present a possible explanation of the findings at the neural level of information processing. The implications of these findings for the relation between attentional processes and conscious awareness are discussed.
KeywordsSpiking neural networks Visual selective attention Consciousness
This research is funded by grant 0308(BE)/16 from the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation.
- 11.Bachmann T. A single metatheoretical framework for a number of conscious-vision phenomena. In: Jing Q, editor. Psychological science around the world. Sussex: Psychology Press; 2006. p. 229–42.Google Scholar
- 14.Mack A, Rock I. Inattentional blindness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 1998.Google Scholar
- 16.Sperling G, Dosher B. Strategy and optimization in human information processing. In: Handbook of perception and human performance. 1986. p. 1–65.Google Scholar
- 22.Neokleous CK, Avraamides MN, Schizas CN. Computational modeling of visual selective attention based on correlation and synchronization of neural activity. In: Iliadis L, Vlahavas I, Bramer M, editors. Artificial intelligence applications and innovations III. Boston: Springer; 2009. p. 215–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 23.Neokleous CK, Avraamides NM, Neocleous KC, Schizas NC. A neural network computational model of visual selective attention. Eng Intell Syst J. 2010; (in press).Google Scholar
- 24.Neokleous KC, Koushiou M, Avraamides NM, Schizas NC. A coincidence detector neural network model of selective attention. In: Proceedings of the 31st annual meeting of the cognitive science society. 2009. The Netherlands: Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- 39.Crick F, Koch C. Towards a neurobiological theory of consciousness. Semin Neurosci. 1990;2:263–75.Google Scholar
- 50.Engel AK, Fries P, Singer W. Dynamic predictions: oscillations and synchrony in top–down processing. Nature. 2001;2:704–16.Google Scholar