Cause and Effect Theories of Attention: The Role of Conceptual Metaphors

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Title: Cause and Effect Theories of Attention: The Role of Conceptual Metaphors
Author: Johnson, Mark, 1949-; Fernandez-Duque, Diego, 1967-
Abstract: In everyday discourse, as well as in science, concepts of attention are defined by metaphors. In scientific theories these metaphors determine what attention is and what count as adequate explanations of the phenomena. We analyze these metaphors in the context of three types of attention theories: (1)'Cause' theories, in which attention is presumed to modulate information-processing (e .g., Attention as a Spotlight ; Attention as a Limited Resource), (2 )`effect' theories, in which attention is considered to be the by-product of information-processing (e.g., the Competition metaphor), and (3) hybrid theories that combine `cause' and `effect' aspects (e .g., Biased-Competition models). Our analysis reveals the crucial role of metaphors in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and the efforts of scientists to find a resolution to the classic problem of `cause' versus `effect' interpretations.
Description: 35 p. This is a final draft manuscript. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA/EPF journal. It is not a copy of record. The published version can be viewed at
Date: 2002-06

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