A review of the patterns of brain activation observed in implicit and explicit memory tasks indicates that during conscious retrieval studied items are first retrieved nonconsciously and are retained in a buffer at the extrastriate cortex. It also indicates that the awareness of the retrieved item is made possible by the activation of a reentrant signaling loop between the extrastriate and left prefrontal cortices.
This paper considers the concept of consciousawareness. The activity of the brain can generally be divided into two categories: unconscious processes and those that contribute to building conscious experience. That which we are consciously aware of and experiencing, and that which we are not. -/- An understanding of consciousness requires an understanding of what criteria separate the two. I argue a role for behaviour in the distinction. I suggest a means of separating out conscious experience (...) by considering the sort of expressibly behaviour that unconscious processes correspond to. (shrink)
In their comment on Sandberg, Timmermans, Overgaard, and Cleeremans (2010), Dienes and Seth argue that increased sensitivity of the Perceptual Awareness Scale (PAS) is a consequence of the scale being less exclusive rather than more exhaustive. According to Dienes and Seth, this is because PAS may measure some conscious content, though not necessarily relevant conscious content, ‘‘If one saw a square but was only aware of seeing a flash of something, then one has not consciously seen a (...) square.” In this reply, we claim that there is a difference between conscious visual experience, which may be partial, and the resulting conscious content, which is conceptual. Whereas PAS measures the first, confidence judgments and post-decision wagering measure the second. (shrink)
There is good evidence that, in general, autonomic conditioning in humans occurs only when subjects can verbalize the contingencies of conditioning. However, one form of conditioning, evaluative conditioning (EC), seems exceptional in that a growing body of evidence suggests that it can occur without conscious contingency awareness. As such, EC offers a unique insight into what role contingency awareness might play in associative learning. Despite this evidence, there are reasons to doubt that evaluative conditioning can occur without (...)consciousawareness. This paper aims to critically review the EC literature and to draw some parallels to what is known about autonomic conditioning. In doing so, some important general issues about measuring contingency awareness are raised. These issues are illustrated with a brief report of an experiment in which a sensitive measure of contingency awareness is compared against a commonly used measure. (shrink)
Conscious mental states are states we are in some way aware of. I compare higher-order theories of consciousness, which explain consciousness by appeal to such higher-order awareness (HOA), and first-order theories, which do not, and I argue that higher-order theories have substantial explanatory advantages. The higher-order nature of our awareness of our conscious states suggests an analogy with the metacognition that figures in the regulation of psychological processes and behaviour. I argue that, although both consciousness and (...) metacognition involve higher-order psychological states, they have little more in common. One thing they do share is the possibility of misrepresentation; just as metacognitive processing can misrepresent one’s cognitive states and abilities, so the HOA in virtue of which one’s mental states are conscious can, and sometimes does, misdescribe those states. A striking difference between the two, however, has to do with utility for psychological processing. Metacognition has considerable benefit for psychological processing; in contrast, it is unlikely that there is much, if any, utility to mental states’ being conscious over and above the utility those states have when they are not conscious. (shrink)
Conscious states as objects of awareness: on Uriah Kriegel, Subjective consciousness: a self - representational theory Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9763-9 Authors Brie Gertler, Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Recent empirical research results in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences on the “adaptive unconscious” show that conscious control and deliberative awareness are not all-pervasive aspects of our everyday dealings with one another. Moral philosophers and other scientists have used these insights to put our moral agency to the test. The results of these tests are intriguing: apparently we are not always (or ever?) the moral agents we take ourselves to be. This paper argues in favor of a refinement (...) of our common perception of moral agency that can accommodate these results; however, it also argues against the suggestion that this refined concept is the result of a radical new understanding of our everyday moral practices. (shrink)
One of the more refractory problems in contemporary discussions of consciousness is the problem of determining what a mental state's being conscious consists in. This paper defends the thesis that a mental state is conscious if and only if it has a certain reflexive character, i.e., if and only if it has a structure that includes an awareness of itself. Since this thesis finds one of its clearest expressions in the work of Brentano, it is his treatment (...) of the thesis on which I initially focus, though I subsequently bring in Sartre where he addresses himself to an important point not considered by Brentano. As part of this investigation, the paper also, more specifically, aims to exhibit as perspicuously as possible the relationship between self-awareness and the phenomenal, or 'what-it- is-like', dimension of conscious experience. I attempt to show, in particular, that the phenomenal character of at least perceptual consciousness can be fully explained in terms of self-awareness, i.e., in terms of a low-level or 'implicit' self-awareness that is built into every conscious perceptual state. (shrink)
Becoming aware of errors that one has committed might be crucial for strategic behavioral and neuronal adjustments to avoid similar errors in the future. This review addresses conscious error perception (“error awareness”) in healthy subjects as well as the relationship between error awareness and neurological and psychiatric diseases. We first discuss the main findings on error awareness in healthy subjects. A region, that appears consistently involved in error awareness processes, is the insula, which also provides (...) a link to the clinical conditions reviewed here. Then we focus on a neurological condition whose core element is an impaired awareness for neurological consequences of a disease: anosognosia for hemiplegia (AHP). The insular cortex has been implicated in both error awareness and AHP, with anterior insular regions being involved in conscious error processing and more posterior areas being related to AHP. In addition to cytoarchitectonic and connectivity data, this reflects a functional and structural gradient within the insula from anterior to posterior. Furthermore, studies dealing with error awareness and lack of insight in a number of psychiatric diseases are reported. Especially in schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders the performance monitoring system seems impaired, thus conscious error perception might be altered. (shrink)
Understanding of time, construed as movement, change and becoming, is explained taking examples from natural sciences. Durational and metrical aspects of time are elaborated. General assumptions about passage of time are listed. Indian, Chinese and later insights of path of passage of time are figured. Physical and psychological times are differentiated and explained using Energy-Presence (Being) and Energy-Transformation (Becoming) concepts. Concepts of Time at rest and Time in motion are proposed. -/- . The meanings of time-space, time-flow, different phases of (...) time-conscious and time-transcendent mind and thought processes are interpreted from basic physics principles and Upanishadic awareness -/- An attempt is made to present a comprehensive insight of nature of time, thought process and conscious states (phases) of mind. (shrink)
When a mental state is conscious â in the sense that there is something it is like for the subject to have it â it instantiates a certain property F in virtue of which it is a conscious state. It is customary to suppose that F is the property of having sensory quality. The paper argues that this supposition is false. The first part of the paper discusses reasons for thinking that unconscious mental states can have a sensory (...) quality, for example in cases of absent-minded perception. If unconscious mental states can have a sensory quality, then sensory quality is an insufficient condition for consciousness. The second part of the paper argues that there are even better reasons to think that sensory quality is an unnecessary condition for consciousness. The idea is that mental states can be conscious even when they lack sensory quality, for example, in the case of certain conscious propositional attitudes. In the third part of the paper, an alternative to the rejected supposition, drawn from the phenomenological tradition, is offered: that consciousness is a matter of implicit self-awareness, rather than of sensory quality. According to this alternative, a mental state is conscious when, and only when, it involves implicit self-awareness. (shrink)
This paper argues that there are two compelling intuitions about conscious experience, the absorption intuition and the ubiquity intuition. The former is the claim that conscious experience consists in intentional absorption in its objects; the latter is the claim that conscious experience ubiquitously exhibits a sense that the mental subject is conscious that she is so conscious. These two intuitions are in tension with each other and it seems no single theory of consciousness can respect (...) both. Drawing on the early work of Sartre, particularly in The Transcendence of the Ego, I argue that an adverbial theory of consciousness comes closest to doing so: it explains the first intuition and respects the phenomenon that the second intuition is supposed to capture. It emerges, therefore, as the theory of consciousness that is the most explanatory overall. The argument of this paper proceeds as follows. The first section describes the distinctive features of an adverbial approach to consciousness. The second describes the first intuition that conscious experience is typically absorbed in the objects of conscious thought whereas the third describes the intuition that our conscious experience is ubiquitously self- aware. I then turn to an examination to a range of views, influenced by Brentano, that try to reconcile these intuitions and argue that none of them succeed. I conclude with a description of how an adverbialism influenced by Sartre. (shrink)
The interplay between top-down, bottom-up attention and consciousness is frequently tested in altered states of consciousness, including transitions between stages of sleep and sedation, and in pathological disorders of consciousness (the vegetative and minimally conscious states; VS and MCS). One of the most widely used tasks to assess cognitive processing in this context is the auditory oddball paradigm, where an infrequent change in a sequence of sounds elicits, in awake subjects, a characteristic EEG event-related potential (ERP) called the mismatch (...) negativity (MMN), followed by the classic P300 wave. The latter is further separable into the slightly earlier, anterior P3a and the later, posterior P3b, linked to bottom-up and top-down attention, respectively. We discuss here the putative dissociations between attention and awareness in disorders of consciousness, sedation and sleep, bearing in mind the recently emerging evidence from healthy volunteers and patients. These findings highlight the neurophysiological and cognitive parallels (and differences) across these three distinct variations in levels of consciousness, and inform the theoretical framework for interpreting the role of attention therein. (shrink)