Attention, intention and domain-specific processing

Matthew Finkbeiner*, Kenneth I. Forster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Many researchers use subliminal priming to investigate domain-specific processing mechanisms, which have classically been defined in terms of their autonomy from other cognitive systems. Surprisingly, recent research has demonstrated that nonconsciously elicited cognitive processes are not independent of attention. By extension, these findings have been used to call into question the autonomy of domain-specific processing mechanisms. By contrast, we argue that the demonstrated modulation of nonconscious cognitive processes by attention occurs at a predomain-specific stage of processing. Thus, although we agree that attention might be a prerequisite of nonconscious processes, we suggest that there is no reason to think that higher-level cognitive systems directly modulate domain-specific processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008

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