Attention Metaphors: How Metaphors Guide the Cognitive Psychology of Attention

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Title: Attention Metaphors: How Metaphors Guide the Cognitive Psychology of Attention
Author: Johnson, Mark, 1949-; Fernandez-Duque, Diego, 1967-
Abstract: The concept of attention is defined by multiple inconsistent metaphors that scientists use to identify relevant phenomena, frame hypotheses, construct experiments, and interpret data. (1) The Filter metaphor shapes debates about partial vs. complete filtering, early vs. late selection, and information filtering vs. enhancement. (2) The Spotlight metaphor raises the issue of space- vs. object-based selection, and it guides research on the size, shape, and movement of the attentional focus. (3) The Spotlight-in-the-Brain metaphor is frequently used to interpret imaging studies of attention. (4) The debate between supramodal and pre-motor theories of attention replays the dichotomy between the Spotlight and the Vision metaphors of attention. Our analysis reveals the central role of metaphor in scientific theory and research on attention, exposes hidden assumptions behind various research strategies, and shows the need for flexibility in the use of current metaphors.
Description: 34 p.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/1878
Date: 1999-01


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