Libet's temporal anomalies: A reassessment of the data

Consciousness and Cognition 11 (2):198-214 (2002)
Abstract
Benjamin Libet compared the perceived time of direct brain stimulation to the perceived time of skin stimulation. His results are among the most controversial experiments at the interface between psychology and philosophy. The new element that I bring to this discussion is a reanalysis of Libet's raw data. Libet's original data were difficult to interpret because of the manner in which they were presented in tables. Plotting the data as psychometric functions shows that the observers have great uncertainty about the relative timing of events, as seen the shallow psychometric slopes. A second indication of uncertainty comes from Libet's use of three response categories, A first; B first; and A and B simultaneous. The large number of “perceptually simultaneous” responses provides a further measure of the difficulty of the judgment. There are thus a very broad range of stimulus delays in which the subject is unable to make an accurate ordering response. These points provide evidence that there is no compelling reason to invent exotic or ad hoc mechanisms to account for Libet's data since the uncertainty window is large enough to allow simple mechanism such as memory shifts. Libet argued that his data provide evidence for a backward referral in time. I argue that even though Libet's own data are weak, there are good arguments for a backward referral mechanism to help the subject make sense out of the tangled chaos of asynchronous information associated with experienced events
Keywords *Consciousness States  *Data Collection  *Perception  *Physiological Correlates  *Time Series
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 14,008
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

39 ( #62,411 of 1,696,592 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #52,986 of 1,696,592 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.