David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Consciousness and Cognition 7 (4):559-595 (1998)
An extended examination of Libet's works led to a comprehensive reinterpretation of his results. According to this reinterpretation, the Minimum Train Duration of electrical brain stimulation should be considered as the time needed to create a brain stimulus efficient for producing conscious sensation and not as a basis for inferring the latency for conscious sensation of peripheral origin. Latency for conscious sensation with brain stimulation may occurafterthe Minimum Train Duration. Backward masking with cortical stimuli suggests a 125-300 ms minimum value for the latency for conscious sensation of threshold skin stimuli. Backward enhancement is not suitable for inferring this latency. For determining temporal relations between stimuli that correspond to subjects' reports, theendof cerebral Minimum Train Duration should be used as reference, rather than its onset. Results of coupling peripheral and cortical stimuli are explained by a latency after the cortical Minimum Train Duration, having roughly the same duration as the latency for supraliminal skin stimuli. Results of coupling peripheral stimuli and stimuli to medial lemniscus (LM) are explained by a shorter LM latency and/or a longer peripheral latency. This interpretation suggests a 230 ms minimum value for the latency for conscious sensation of somatosensory near-threshold stimuli. The backward referral hypothesis, as formulated by Libet, should not be retained. Long readiness potentials preceding spontaneous conscious or nonconscious movements suggest that both kinds of movement are nonconsciously initiated. The validity of Libet's measures of W and M moments (Libet et al., 1983a) is questionable due to problems involving latencies, training, and introspective distinction of W and M. Veto of intended actions may be initially nonconscious but dependent on conscious awareness.
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References found in this work BETA
Benjamin W. Libet (1985). Unconscious Cerebral Initiative and the Role of Conscious Will in Voluntary Action. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 8 (4):529-66.
Benjamin Libet, C. Gleason, E. Wright & D. Pearl (1983). Time of Conscious Intention to Act in Relation to Onset of Cerebral Activity (Readiness-Potential). The Unconscious Initiation of a Freely Voluntary Act. Brain 106:623--664.
Benjamin W. Libet (1981). The Experimental Evidence for Subjective Referral of a Sensory Experience Backwards in Time: Reply to P.S. Churchland. Philosophy of Science 48 (June):182-197.
Benjamin W. Libet (1982). Brain Stimulation in the Study of Neuronal Functions for Conscious Sensory Experiences. Human Neurobiology 1:235-42.
Benjamin Libet (1965). Cortical Activation in Conscious and Unconscious Experience. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 9 (1):77-86.
Citations of this work BETA
Susan Pockett (2002). On Subjective Back-Referral and How Long It Takes to Become Conscious of a Stimulus: A Reinterpretation of Libet's Data. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (2):141-61.
Gilberto Gomes (2002). Problems in the Timing of Conscious Experience. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (2):191-97.
Wim van de Grind (2002). Physical, Neural, and Mental Timing. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (2):241-64.
S. Joordens, Marc van Duijn & T. M. Spalek (2002). When Timing the Mind Should Also Mind the Timing: Biases in the Measurement of Voluntary Actions. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (2):231-40.
Gilberto Gomes (2002). The Interpretation of Libet's Results on the Timing of Conscious Events: A Commentary. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (2):221-230.
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Alexander Batthyany (2009). Mental Causation and Free Will After Libet and Soon: Reclaiming Conscious Agency. In Alexander Batthyany & Avshalom Elitzur (eds.), Irreducibly Conscious. Selected Papers on Consciousness. Winter
Benjamin W. Libet (1978). Neuronal Vs. Subjective Timing for a Conscious Sensory Experience. In P. A. Buser & A. Rougeul-Buser (eds.), Cerebral Correlates of Conscious Experience. Elsevier
Patricia S. Churchland (1981). On the Alleged Backward Referral of Experience and its Relevance to the Mind-Body Problem. Philosophy of Science 48 (June):165-81.
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