Skip to main content

Attention and consciousness in the processing of novelty

Buy Article:

$25.69 plus tax (Refund Policy)

The essence of Baars’ (1997) paper is to propose nine functions for consciousness. By way of introducing these functions we are presented with a metaphor of a theatre, in which players act, operators set contexts behind the scenes, an unconscious audience provides specialised capabilities, and, of course, a bright spotlight of attention illuminates whatever is available to consciousness. The value of this metaphor is not entirely clear, with the separate ‘roles’ of the audience and of the operators behind the scenes being particularly difficult to identify. Additionally, there may be a problem with idea that there is some kind of competition between actors who are seeking the spotlight of attention, for this suggests that the components of thought have volitions of their own. These would, indeed, be dangerous thoughts. Rather than attempting an analysis of the metaphor and its potential usefulness, this commentary will consider the nine functions of consciousness that have been proposed.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. Email:

Publication date: 1997-04-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more