© 2020

The Attentional Shaping of Perceptual Experience

An Investigation into Attention and Cognitive Penetrability


Part of the Studies in Brain and Mind book series (SIBM, volume 16)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Francesco Marchi
    Pages 1-16
  3. Francesco Marchi
    Pages 17-32
  4. Francesco Marchi
    Pages 53-65
  5. Francesco Marchi
    Pages 67-89
  6. Francesco Marchi
    Pages 91-119
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 155-157

About this book


This monograph presents a clear account of when and how attentional processes can shape perceptual experience. This argument is based on the prediction-error minimization model of the mind. The author believes that the topic of attention should take a more central role in the debate about the influence of cognition on perception. Inside, he shows how this can be possible.

The hypothesis that cognition may shape perceptual experience has been traditionally labeled as the cognitive penetrability of perceptual experience. Cognitive penetrability is relevant for several debates in philosophy and cognitive science. It tackles the possibility of gathering genuine knowledge on the basis of perceptual information about the world delivered by sensory channels. The problem, the author notes, is that if our previously acquired belief can shape current perceptual experiences, such experiences cannot serve as an adequate source of justification in retaining those beliefs or even forming new ones. He argues that cognitive penetration may sometimes happen through attentional processes, but that its occurrence need not undermine perceptual justification.

The book provides an overview of the cognitive penetrability debate. The author discusses evidence that supports the occurrence of this phenomenon. Overall, this investigation offers readers a philosophical discussion of attention based on the biased-competition theory. It argues that attention is a property of mental representations that emerges from a metacognitive competition process.


Attention biased competition Cognitive Penetration Distinction Perception Cognition Interaction Perception Cognition Predictive coding Prediction-Error Minimization Theories of Attention Attention and the Shaping of Experience Cognitive Processing Hierarchy Cognitive Penetrability of Perceptual Experience Theory of Attention How Attentional Cognitive Penetration Works Expectations and Predictions as a Model of Cognition Predictive Model of Attentional Cognitive Penetration prediction-error minimization model of the mind

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Philosophie IIRuhr University BochumBochumGermany

About the authors

Francesco Marchi is a research assistant at the chair for Philosophy of Mind in the department of Philosophy II of the Ruhr University of Bochum. He received his PhD in March 2017 with a dissertation about the role of attentional processes in the interaction between cognition and perception. His main interests lay in the Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science, Predictive-Coding models of cognition and Epistemology. His published work currently focuses on the cognitive penetrability of perceptual experience and the role of attention in the shaping of experience by cognition.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Attentional Shaping of Perceptual Experience
  • Book Subtitle An Investigation into Attention and Cognitive Penetrability
  • Authors Francesco Marchi
  • Series Title Studies in Brain and Mind
  • Series Abbreviated Title Studies in Brain,Mind
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-33557-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-33560-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-33558-8
  • Series ISSN 1573-4536
  • Series E-ISSN 2468-399X
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 157
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Mind
    Cognitive Psychology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site