Exploring the Relationship Between Attention and Awareness. Neurophenomenology of the Centroencephalic Space of Functional Integration

  • Mauro N. MaldonatoEmail author
  • Raffaele Sperandeo
  • Anna Esposito
  • Ciro Punzo
  • Silvia Dell’Orco
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 151)


Although there is a no established theory, there is no longer any doubt about the multiplicity of the structures involved in the attentional processes. Attention is involved, in fact, in several fundamental functions: consciousness, perception, motor action, memory and so on. For several decades, the hypothesis that attention is highly variable (for extension and clarity) in terms of consciousness has been quite influential, which would range within itself in relation to its changes of state: from sleep to wakefulness, from drowsiness to twilight state of consciousness, from confusion to hyperlucidity, from dreamlike to oneiric states. More recently, other fields of considerable theoretical importance have linked attention to emotion, to affectivity or primary autonomous psychic energy or to social determinants. In this paper, we shall demonstrate how paying attention to something does not mean becoming aware of it. A series of experiments has shown that these are two distinct mental states. This decoupling could represent a useful mechanism for the ability to survive that has developed during the course of evolution.


Attention Consciousness Integration Priming Neglect Evolution 


  1. 1.
    Broadbent, D.E.: A mechanical model for human attention and immediate memory. Psychol. Rev. 64(3), 205 (1957)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Burnham, W.H.: Attention and interest. Am. J. Psychol. 19(1), 14–18 (1908)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fenske, M.J., Raymond, J.E.: Affective influences of selective attention. Curr. Dir. Psychol. Sci. 15(6), 312–316 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    James, W.: The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1, p. 474. Holt, New York (1890)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Callieri, B., Maldonato, N.M., Di Petta, G.: Lineamenti di psicopatologia fenomenologica. Guida Editori, Napoli (1999)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Oken, B.S., Salinsky, M.C., Elsas, S.M.: Vigilance, alertness, or sustained attention: physiological basis and measurement. Clin. Neurophysiol. 117(9), 1885–1901 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Escera, C., Alho, K., Schröger, E., Winkler, I.W.: Involuntary attention and distractibility as evaluated with event-related brain potentials. Audiol. Neurotol. 5(3–4), 151–166 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Eysenck, M.: Attention and Arousal: Cognition and Performance. Springer Science & Business Media, Berlin (2012)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zomeren, A.H., Brouwer, W.H.: Clinical neuropsychology of attention. Oxford University Press, New York (1994)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Maldonato, N.M.: The ascending reticular activating system. In: Recent Advances of Neural Network Models and Applications, pp. 333–344. Springer, Cham (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Oliverio, A., Maldonato, N.M.: The creative brain. In: 2014 5th IEEE Conference on Cognitive Infocommunications (CogInfoCom), pp. 527–532. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mahadevan, M.S., Bedell, H.E., Stevenson, S.B.: The influence of endogenous attention on contrast perception, contrast discrimination, and saccadic reaction time. Vis. Res. (2017)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jipp, M.: Reaction times to consecutive automation failures: a function of working memory and sustained attention. Hum. Factors 58(8), 1248–1261 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shiffrin, R.M., Grantham, D.W.: Can attention be allocated to sensory modalities? Percept. Psychophys. 15(3), 460–474 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jones, R.G.: An applied approach to psychology of sustainability. Ind. Organ. Psychol. (2017)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Booth, J.N., Tomporowski, P.D., Boyle, J.M., Ness, A.R., Joinson, C., Leary, S.D., Reilly, J.J.: Associations between executive attention and objectively measured physical activity in adolescence: findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort. Mental Health Phys. Act. 6(3), 212–219 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Makovski, T., Jiang, Y.V.: Distributing versus focusing attention in visual short-term memory. Psychon. Bull. Rev. 14(6), 1072–1078 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    McGuinness, D., Pribram, K.: The neuropsychology of attention: Emotional and motivational controls. In: The Brain and Psychology, pp. 95–139 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Baroody, A.J., Li, X.: The construct and measurement of spontaneous attention to a number. Eur. J. Develop. Psychol. 13(2), 170–178 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rosenfield, I.: A invenção da memória: uma nova visão do cérebro. Nova Fronteira (1994)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Klein, S.B., Nichols, S.: Memory and the sense of personal identity. Mind 121(483), 677–702 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Eilan, N.: Perceptual intentionality. Attention and consciousness. Royal Inst. Philos. Suppl. 43, 181–202 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Thompson, E.: Neurophenomenology and contemplative experience. The Oxford Handbook of Science and Religion, pp. 226–235 (2006)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Robinson, P.: Attention and awareness. Lang. Awareness Multilingualism 1–10 (2016)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Yiend, J.: The effects of emotion on attention: a review of attentional processing of emotional information. Cogn. Emot. 24(1), 3–47 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Enns, J.T., Di Lollo, V.: What’s new in visual masking? Trends Cogn. Sci. 4(9), 345–352 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Klinger, M.R., Burton, P.C., Pitts, G.S.: Mechanisms of unconscious priming: I. Response competition, not spreading activation. J. Experim. Psychol. Learn. Memory Cogn. 26(2), 441 (2000)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Moray, N.: Attention in dichotic listening: affective cues and the influence of instructions. Quart. J. Experim. Psychol. 11(1), 56–60 (1959)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Corbetta, M., Shulman, G.L.: Spatial neglect and attention networks. Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 34, 569–599 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Maldonato, N. M., Oliverio, A., Esposito, A.: Neuronal symphonies: Musical improvisation and the centrencephalic space of functional integration. World Futures 1–20 (2017)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Maldonato, N.M., Dell’Orco, S., Sperandeo, R.: When intuitive decisions making, based on expertise, may deliver better results than a rational, deliberate approach. In: Esposito, A., Faundez-Zanuy, M., Morabito, F.C., Pasero, E. (eds.) Multidisciplinary Approaches to Neural Computing. Springer, Cham (2018)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Simons, D.J., Rensink, R.A.: Change blindness: past, present, and future. Trends Cogn. Sci. 9(1), 16–20 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Maldonato, N.M., Sperandeo, R., Dell’Orco, S., Iennaco, D., Cerroni, F., Romano, P., Tripi, G.: Mind, brain and altered states of consciousness. Acta Medica Mediterranea 34(2), 357–366 (2018)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mauro N. Maldonato
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raffaele Sperandeo
    • 2
  • Anna Esposito
    • 3
  • Ciro Punzo
    • 4
  • Silvia Dell’Orco
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience and Reproductive and Odontostomatological SciencesUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of Human SciencesUniversity of BasilicataPotenzaItaly
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Campania Luigi VanvitelliNaplesItaly
  4. 4.Pontifical Lateran UniversityRomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of Humanistic StudiesUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

Personalised recommendations