Using illusory line motion to differentiate misrepresentation (stalinesque) and misremembering (orwellian) accounts of consciousness
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Consciousness and Cognition 11 (2):347-365 (2002)
It has been suggested that the difference between misremembering (Orwellian) and misrepresentation (Stalinesque) models of consciousness cannot be differentiated (Dennett, 1991). According to an Orwellian account a briefly presented stimulus is seen and then forgotten; whereas, by a Stalinesque account it is never seen. At the same time, Dennett suggested a method for assessing whether an individual is conscious of something. An experiment was conducted which used the suggested method for assessing consciousness to look at Stalinesque and Orwellian distinctions. A visual illusion, illusory line motion, was presented and participants were requested to make judgments that reflected what they were aware of. The participants were able to make responses indicating that they were aware of the actual stimulus in some conditions, but only of the illusion in others. This finding supports a claim that the difference between the Orwellian and Stalinesque accounts may be empirically observable, and that both types of events may occur depending on task and stimulus parameters.
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