Conscious perception and attention are difficult to study, partly because their relation to each other is not fully understood. Rather than conceiving and studying them in isolation from each other it may be useful to locate them in an independently motivated, general framework, from which a principled account of how they relate can then emerge. Accordingly, these mental phenomena are here reviewed through the prism of the increasingly influential predictive coding framework. On this framework, conscious perception can be seen as the upshot of prediction error minimization and attention as the optimization of precision expectations during such perceptual inference. This approach maps on well to a range of standard characteristics of conscious perception and attention, and can be used to interpret a range of empirical findings on their relation to each other.
Keywords: prediction error minimization, precision expectation, free energy, inattentional blindness, change blindness, unconscious processing
Citation: Hohwy J (2012) Attention and conscious perception in the hypothesis testing brain. Front. Psychology 3:96. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00096
Received: 21 December 2011; Paper pending published: 18 January 2012;
Accepted: 14 March 2012; Published online: 02 April 2012.
Edited by:Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Monash University, Australia
Reviewed by:Andy Clark, University of Edinburgh, UK
Copyright: © 2012 Hohwy. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.
*Correspondence: Jakob Hohwy, Department of Philosophy, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org