Nicholas Shea
School of Advanced Study, University of London
A step towards a theory of consciousness would be to characterise the effect of consciousness on information processing. One set of results suggests that the effect of consciousness is to interfere with computations that are optimally performed non-consciously. Another set of results suggests that conscious, system 2 processing is the home of norm-compliant computation. This is contrasted with system 1 processing, thought to be typically unconscious, which operates with useful but error-prone heuristics. These results can be reconciled by separating out two different distinctions: between conscious and non-conscious representations, on the one hand, and between automatic and deliberate processes, on the other. This pair of distinctions is used to illuminate some existing experimental results and to resolve the puzzle about whether consciousness helps or hinders accurate information processing. This way of resolving the puzzle shows the importance of another category, which we label ‘type 0 cognition’, characterised by automatic computational processes operating on non-conscious representations.
Keywords consciousness  unconscious processing  theories and models  functions of consciousness  dual processing
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References found in this work BETA

Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition Advancing the Debate.Jonathan Evans & Keith E. Stanovich - 2013 - Perspectives on Psychological Science 8 (3):223-241.
Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.Dan Sperber - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (2):57.

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