Empirical evidence for the sphere of attention
There is a story that the gold-oriented 49ers near Sutter's Mill threw away the silver in their search for gold. I take the majority of attention researchers to be doing something similar: digging for thematic gold and discarding contextual and marginal silver, which are also precious in human attending. Demarcating the area of the focus of attention, its general and specific qualities, has been a fruitful area of research for some time. Also, some research paradigms are already revealing the role of context and margin in attending, but the theoretical framework for interpreting the results is too often one-dimensionally focused on the theme, instead of three-dimensional. If I am correct in differentiating the three dimensions in the sphere of attention, then non-focal processing would have to fit the description of either contextual or marginal consciousness. The bulk of this chapter centers on the next big thing for attention research-the context of attention. But it opens by discussing thematic attending and the margin, and closes by illustratingand discussing how some researchers are implicitly investigating all three dimensions in the sphere of attention.
Arvidson, (2006). Empirical evidence for the sphere of attention, in The sphere of attention, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 21-55.
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