GOLDHABER: Well, intentions are not as scarce…
GOLDSTEIN: They’re not scarce?
GOLDHABER: I don’t think so. People have a lot of intentions. Whether they carry them out is a whole other question. But anyway, attention is connected with intention. The mirror neuron thing is connected to intentions also. One of the things that was discovered for instance, was that you could tell whether somebody is picking up a glass to drink from it or in order to put it away. Somehow the way they move is different, so you ascribe intentions to people in order to understand them. That’s what you are constantly doing when you’re trying to make sense of what this sentence is about for example.
GOLDSTEIN: There are cognitive intentions, communication intentions, but there’s also intention in terms of "I’m paying attention to a lot of things and my intentions would allow somebody to anticipate where my attention is going." Intentions sequence attention. You can reconstruct the why. Otherwise, how do you tell the story of what someone’s paying attention to if you don’t have access to some intentionality?
GOLDHABER: Yes. We are not really paying attention unless we’re paying attention via intentions.
GOLDSTEIN: Even if they’re watching “American Idol,” even if they’re watching TV.
GOLDHABER: I mean you still want to know why they’re watching it. My girlfriend watches “American Idol,” and I keep trying to figure it out.
GOLDSTEIN: Well, they’re anxious to know who’s going to win, right?
GOLDHABER: And to watch the performance. People have different intentions. For instance, I was convinced at first it was sadism, and I was just watching this guy Simon make people feel awful. It took a while to become convinced that it wasn’t that. So, you know, you try to figure that out.
(thread 7 of conversation with between seth goldstein and michael goldhaber after oreilly's attention economy conference, in march of 2006 in oakland)