Abstract
The notion of unconscious finds support in many experimental studies that use the dissociation method. This method allows us to distinguish between conscious and unconscious mental states when participants cannot explain why they performed as they did in an experiment. The paper will discuss the notion of unconscious by considering David R. Shanks’ criticisms of the application of the dissociation method: it will assess three studies Shanks proposes as reexaminations of three other relevant studies in the literature and show how Shanks’ work provides an examination of the methodological pitfalls of such studies. The paper will argue that, although Shanks’s results are relevant regarding theories about the structure of cognition, his theoretical positions are at best confused and at worst diminish the importance of his research outcomes. It will conclude by showing why Shanks’s results that legitimize the role of consciousness in cognition can be problematic for the physicalistic or materialistic framework endorsed by cognitive psychologists. Keywords: Dissociation Method; Dual-process Theories; Cognitive Psychology; Consciousness; Unconscious La distinzione tra cognizione conscia e inconscia nell’opera di D.R. Schanks: una valutazione critica Riassunto: La nozione di inconscio trova supporto in vari studi sperimentali che utilizzano il metodo della dissociazione. Secondo la letteratura cognitivista questo metodo permette di distinguere tra stati mentali consci e inconsci quando i partecipanti non sono in grado di riportare verbalmente il perché si sono comportati in un certo modo durante l’esecuzione di un compito sperimentale. Il presente articolo discute la nozione di inconscio in relazione alle critiche di David R. Shanks all’applicazione del metodo della dissociazione. Più precisamente, esso valuta tre studi che Shanks propone come repliche e rivalutazioni di altrettante ricerche a favore della cognizione inconscia e mostra l’autore riesca con successo a metterne in luce le carenze metodologiche. Inoltre, sostiene anche che, sebbene i risultati sperimentali di Shanks siano importanti per le teorie sulla struttura della cognizione, le sue posizioni teoriche sono quantomeno confuse e rischiano di ridimensionare la portata delle sue conclusioni empiriche e metodologiche. L’articolo conclude mostrando le ragioni per cui i risultati di Shanks, che legittimano il ruolo della coscienza nella cognizione, siano controversi in quanto adottano una posizione filosofica fisicalistica o materialistica comune alla maggioranza degli psicologi cognitivi. Parole chiave: Metodo della dissociazione; Teorie del doppio processo; Psicologia cognitiva; Coscienza; Inconscio.
Keywords Cognitive Psychology  Consciousness  Dissociation Method  Dual-process Theories  Unconscious
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DOI 10.4453/rifp.2022.0002
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