A Companion to Velmans, M. (ed.) (2018) Consciousness (Critical Concepts in Psychology) Volume 2: Cognitive and Neuropsychological Approaches to the Study of Consciousness Part 1, Major Works Series, London: Routledge, pp. 537

Max Velmans
Goldsmiths College, University of London
This is the second of four online Companions to Velmans, M. (ed.) (2018) Consciousness (Critical Concepts in Psychology), a 4-volume collection of Major Works on Consciousness commissioned by Routledge, London. The Companion to Volume 2 Part 1 focuses on the detailed relationship of phenomenal consciousness to mental processing described either functionally (as human information processing) or in terms of neural activity, in the ways typically explored by cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Beginning with reviews of functional differences between unconscious, preconscious and conscious processing and the different senses in which mental processing can be said to be “conscious”, the readings turn to seminal work on blindsight and related phenomena, experimental evidence of perception without awareness, ways to combine “subjective” and “objective” measures of awareness, evidence for distinct neural pathways governing visual awareness and visual control of motor acts, and the complex ways in which consciousness of action relates to both voluntary and involuntary acts. The readings then focus on the intimate links between attention and consciousness, starting with the writings of William James and surveying the extensive work on this subject over the last 60 years that explores the relationships between and attended and non-attended processing, preconscious and conscious processing, and attention, primary (working, short-term) memory and consciousness. The readings go on to survey the evidence that attention contributes to the “neural binding” required for an integrated conscious experience and evidence that attention (in humans) is dissociable from consciousness, necessary for consciousness, but not sufficient for consciousness. The readings then turn to research on “inattentional blindness”, and conclude with a review of Baars’ global workspace theory, which integrates many theories and findings in this area into a coherent, global model. The Companion then summarises seminal readings on learning, memory and consciousness; the extensive research on mental imagery, long thought to epitomize private, subjective conscious experience—and consequently ruled out of science by reductive, materialist philosophies of mind; the complex relations of consciousness to sleep and dreaming; the development of consciousness in human infants; and the debates surrounding, and extensive evidence for consciousness in non-human animals, with attendant consequences for their humane treatment. As with the other Companions to these Volumes there are many links to background resources (marked in pink) and to the selected readings themselves (marked in blue).
Keywords Phenomenal consciousness  Psychofunctionalism  Cognitive psychology  Neuroscience  Unconscious and preconscious processing  Subjective and objective measures of consciousness  Attention and consciousness  Learning, memory and consciousness  Imagery, dreaming and consciousness  Consciousness in infants and non-human animals
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Is Human Information Processing Conscious?Max Velmans - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (4):651-69.
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