The Standard Theory of Conscious Perception


In this paper I argue that the prioritization of sensory input by top-down attention is constitutive of and essential to conscious perception. Specifically, I argue that top-down attention is required to provide informational integration at the level of the subject, which can be contrasted with integration at the level of features and objects. Since the informational content of conscious perception requires integration at the level of the subject, top-down attention is necessary for conscious perception as we know it. I present this argument through a theory, which I call the “Standard Theory.” According to this theory, top-down attention brings about subject-level integration for sensory input by prioritizing that input with respect to a subject-level standard.

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