Article

Reproducibility distinguishes conscious from nonconscious neural representations

Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 11/2009; 327(5961):97-9. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180029
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT What qualifies a neural representation for a role in subjective experience? Previous evidence suggests that the duration and intensity of the neural response to a sensory stimulus are factors. We introduce another attribute--the reproducibility of a pattern of neural activity across different episodes--that predicts specific and measurable differences between conscious and nonconscious neural representations independently of duration and intensity. We found that conscious neural activation patterns are relatively reproducible when compared with nonconscious neural activation patterns corresponding to the same perceptual content. This is not adequately explained by a difference in signal-to-noise ratio.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Aaron Schurger, May 04, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
127 Views
  • Source
    • "We refer to this view of action initiation, where a decision-to-move (conscious or not) precedes the RP which in turn leads to an action, as the 'early decision' account. Libet's (1983) experiment has been replicated numerous times (Haggard and Eimer 1999; Keller and Heckhausen 1990; Miller et al. 2011; Schurger et al. 2012; Trevena and Miller 2002, 2010), including a recent replication using single-neuron recordings in humans that confirms a gradual increase in firing rate of individual neurons in advance of reported conscious-decision time (Fried et al. 2011). How best to interpret the apparent buildup of neuronal activity preceding conscious decisions has been debated extensively (Gomes 1999). "
  • Source
    • "Group-level averages discount variability between subjects in the discriminative patterns and emphasize local regions where informative voxels tend to overlap across subjects (Schurger et al. 2010), giving the impression that a causal arrow can be drawn from a given bright spot in the brain to a given decision. Thus even multivariate pattern classification is not immune to the ROI-centric tendency in fMRI research: as soon as one has access to the pattern of informative voxels that the classifier used, one is drawn towards trying to find a cluster somewhere (Bode et al. 2011; Schurger et al. 2010; Soon et al. 2008). After all, what researcher would bother to publish voxel maps that looked like television noise, and on top of that A. Schurger, S. Uithol "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The idea that intentions make the difference between voluntary and non- voluntary behaviors is simple and intuitive. At the same time, we lack an understanding of how voluntary actions actually come about, and the unquestioned appeal to inten- tions as discrete causes of actions offers little if anything in the way of an answer. We cite evidence suggesting that the origin of actions varies depending on context and effector, and argue that actions emerge from a causal web in the brain, rather than a central origin of intentional action. We argue that this causal web need not be confined to the central nervous system, and that proprioceptive feedback might play a counter- intuitive role in the decision process. Finally we argue that the complex and dynamic origins of voluntary action and their interplay with the brain’s propensity to predict the immediate future are better studied using a dynamical systems approach.
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 03/2015; in press. DOI:10.1007/s13164-014-0223-2
  • Source
    • "We refer to this view of action initiation, where a decision-to-move (conscious or not) precedes the RP which in turn leads to an action, as the 'early decision' account. Libet's (1983) experiment has been replicated numerous times (Haggard and Eimer 1999; Keller and Heckhausen 1990; Miller et al. 2011; Schurger et al. 2012; Trevena and Miller 2002, 2010), including a recent replication using single-neuron recordings in humans that confirms a gradual increase in firing rate of individual neurons in advance of reported conscious-decision time (Fried et al. 2011). How best to interpret the apparent buildup of neuronal activity preceding conscious decisions has been debated extensively (Gomes 1999). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The idea that intentions make the difference between voluntary and non-voluntary behaviors is simple and intuitive. At the same time, we lack an understanding of how voluntary actions actually come about, and the unquestioned appeal to intentions as discrete causes of actions offers little if anything in the way of an answer. We cite evidence suggesting that the origin of actions varies depending on context and effector, and argue that actions emerge from a causal web in the brain, rather than a central origin of intentional action. We argue that this causal web need not be confined to the central nervous system, and that proprioceptive feedback might play a counterintuitive role in the decision process. Finally we argue that the complex and dynamic origins of voluntary action and their interplay with the brain’s propensity to predict the immediate future are better studied using a dynamical systems approach.
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12/2014;
Show more