Filled/non-filled pairs: An empirical challenge to the integrated information theory of consciousness

Consciousness and Cognition 97:103245 (2022)

Abstract

Perceptual filling-in for vision is the insertion of visual properties (e.g., color, contour, luminance, or motion) into one’s visual field, when those properties have no corresponding retinal input. This paper introduces and provides preliminary empirical support for filled/non-filled pairs, pairs of images that appear identical, yet differ by amount of filling-in. It is argued that such image pairs are important to the experimental testing of theories of consciousness. We review recent experimental research and conclude that filling-in involves brain activity with relatively high integrated information (Phi) compared to veridical visual perceptions. We then present filled/non-filled pairs as an empirical challenge to the integrated information theory of consciousness, which predicts that phenomenologically identical experiences depend on brain processes with identical Phi.

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