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Toward a Phenomenology of Attention

P. Sven Arvidson
Human Studies
Vol. 19, No. 1 (Jan., 1996), pp. 71-84
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20011094
Page Count: 14
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Toward a Phenomenology of Attention
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Abstract

There is a considerable amount of research being done on attention by cognitive psychologists. I claim that in the process of measuring and mapping consciousness, these researchers have missed important phenomenological findings. After a synopsis and illustration of the nature of attention as described by Aron Gurwitsch, I critique the assumptions of current psychological research on this topic. Included is discussion of the metaphor of attention as a "beam" or "spotlight", the concept of selective attention as the standard accomplishment, and the cognitive bestowal of organization on otherwise unorganized data. It is concluded that cognitive psychologists and others working on attention can benefit from Gurwitsch's work, and that a credible account of attention is crucial to the success of any comprehensive statement on the nature of consciousness.

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