Impoverished or rich consciousness outside attentional focus: Recent data tip the balance for Overflow

Mind and Language 34 (4):423-444 (2019)
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The question of whether conscious experience is restricted by cognitive access and exhausted by report, or whether it overflows it—comprising more information than can be reported—is hotly debated. Recently, we provided evidence in favor of Overflow, showing that observers discriminated the color‐diversity (CD) of letters in an array, while their working‐memory and attention were dedicated to encoding and reporting a set of cued letters. An alternative interpretation is that CD‐discriminations do not entail conscious experience of the underlying colors. Here we argue, based on conceptual considerations and consistency with neuroscience and phenomenology, in favor of the Overflow interpretation.

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Author Profiles

Hilla Jacobson
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Marius Usher
Tel Aviv University