Belardinelli and Bolander: Attention! Logical Models of the Dynamics of Attention and Belief

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Gaia Belardinelli and Thomas Bolander

Gaia Belardinelli and Thomas Bolander (University of Copenhagen) present to the GoodAttention group.


Attention is the crucial cognitive ability that limits and selects what information we observe. Previous work by Bolander et al. (2016) proposes a logical model of attention where agents are either fully attentive (pay attention to everything that happens) or not attentive at all. While introducing the realistic feature that inattentive agents believe nothing happens, the model does not represent the most essential aspect of attention: its selectivity. Here, we propose a generalization that allows for paying attention to subsets of atomic formulas. We introduce the corresponding logic for propositional attention. We then extend the framework to account for inattentive agents that, instead of assuming nothing happens, may default to a specific truth-value of what they failed to attend to (a sort of prior concerning the unattended atoms). This feature allows for a more cognitively plausible representation of the inattentional blindness phenomenon, where agents end up with false beliefs due to their failure to attend to conspicuous but unexpected events.

In addition to representing our recent logical model of attention (and how it affects the beliefs of agents), we will also address more generally the value of having formal models of attention, including logical models.


This talk will be in hybrid format. If you would like to join the event virtually via Zoom, please email

Published Oct. 17, 2022 3:07 PM - Last modified Nov. 15, 2022 5:42 PM