The distinction between access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness is a subject of intensive debate. According to one view, visual experience overflows the capacity of the attentional and working memory system: We see more than we can report. According to the opposed view, this perceived richness is an illusion—we are aware only of information that we can subsequently report. This debate remains unresolved because of the inevitable reliance on report, which is limited in capacity. To bypass this limitation, this study utilized (...) color diversity—a unique summary statistic—which is sensitive to detailed visual information. Participants were shown a Sperling-like array of colored letters, one row of which was precued. After reporting a letter from the cued row, participants estimated the color diversity of the noncued rows. Results showed that people could estimate the color diversity of the noncued array without a cost to letter report, which suggests that color diversity is registered automatically, outside focal attention, and without consuming additional working memory resources. (shrink)
How do people judge the degree of causal responsibility that an agent has for the outcomes of her actions? We show that a relatively unexplored factor -- the robustness of the causal chain linking the agent’s action and the outcome -- influences judgments of causal responsibility of the agent. In three experiments, we vary robustness by manipulating the number of background circumstances under which the action causes the effect, and find that causal responsibility judgments increase with robustness. In the first (...) experiment, the robustness manipulation also raises the probability of the effect given the action. Experiments 2 and 3 control for probability-raising, and show that robustness still affects judgments of causal responsibility. In particular, Experiment 3 introduces an Ellsberg type of scenario to manipulate robustness, while keeping the conditional probability and the skill deployed in the action fixed. Experiment 4, replicates the results of Experiment 3, while contrasting between judgments of causal strength and of causal responsibility. The results show that in all cases, the perceived degree of responsibility increases with the robustness of the action-outcome causal chain. (shrink)
The aim of our commentary is to strengthen Cowan's proposal for an inherent capacity limitation in STM by suggesting a neurobiological mechanism based on competitive networks and nonlinear oscillations that avoids some of the shortcomings of the scheme discussed in the target article (Lisman & Idiart 1995).
We argue that the separation between CF (contextual field) and RF (receptive field) in relation to the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) system is empirically questionable and that it is functionally unnecessary. In addition, the proposed suppression of unexpected information will in many cases be counterproductive.