Consciousness and Cognition

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 1090-2376
Publications
Article
Contemporary literature on consciousness, with some exceptions, rarely considers the olfactory system. In this article the characteristics of olfactory consciousness, viewed from the standpoint of the phenomenal (P)/access (A) distinction, are examined relative to the major senses. The review details several qualitative differences in both olfactory P consciousness (shifts in the felt location, universal synesthesia-like and affect-rich experiences, and misperceptions) and A consciousness (recovery from habituation, capacity for conscious processing, access to semantic and episodic memory, learning, attention, and in the serial-unitary nature of olfactory percepts). The basis for these differences is argued to arise from the functions that the olfactory system performs and from the unique neural architecture needed to instantiate them. These data suggest, at a minimum, that P and A consciousness are uniquely configured in olfaction and an argument can be made that the P and A distinction may not hold for this sensory system.
 
Article
This study examined three-year-olds' verbal and non-verbal memory for a person met only once after a 28month interval. Children in the Test group (N=50) had participated in an earlier experiment at our lab at the age of 12months where they met one of two possible experimenters. At this past event half of the children were tested by one, the other half by the other experimenter. At the follow-up, run by a naïve experimenter, the children were shown two videos from the original experiment in a visual paired comparison task: One with the specific experimenter testing them at the original visit (the Target) and one of the other experimenter (the Foil), with whom they had no experience. When explicitly asked, the children's responses did not differ from chance. However, eye-tracking data revealed a late-manifesting novelty preference for the "Foil" person indicating memory for the "Target" person met once before.
 
Article
Recent theoretical and empirical work in cognitive science and neuroscience is brought into contact with the concept of the flow experience. After a brief exposition of brain function, the explicit-implicit distinction is applied to the effortless information processing that is so characteristic of the flow state. The explicit system is associated with the higher cognitive functions of the frontal lobe and medial temporal lobe structures and has evolved to increase cognitive flexibility. In contrast, the implicit system is associated with the skill-based knowledge supported primarily by the basal ganglia and has the advantage of being more efficient. From the analysis of this flexibility/efficiency trade-off emerges a thesis that identifies the flow state as a period during which a highly practiced skill that is represented in the implicit system's knowledge base is implemented without interference from the explicit system. It is proposed that a necessary prerequisite to the experience of flow is a state of transient hypofrontality that enables the temporary suppression of the analytical and meta-conscious capacities of the explicit system. Examining sensory-motor integration skills that seem to typify flow such as athletic performance, writing, and free-jazz improvisation, the new framework clarifies how this concept relates to creativity and opens new avenues of research.
 
Article
The 'self' is increasingly used as a variable in cognitive experiments and correlated with activity in particular areas in the brain. At first glance, this seems to transform the self from an ephemeral theoretical entity to something concrete and measurable. However, the transformation is by no means unproblematic. We trace the development of two important experimental paradigms in the study of the self, self-face recognition and the adjective self ascription task. We show how the experimental instrumentalization has gone hand in hand with a simplification of the self-concept, and how more conceptual and theoretical reflections on the structure, function and nature of self have either disappeared altogether or receded into the background. We argue that this development impedes and complicates the interdisciplinary study of self.
 
Article
Binocular rivalry provides a useful situation for studying the relation between the temporal flow of conscious experience and the temporal dynamics of neural activity. After proposing a phenomenological framework for understanding temporal aspects of consciousness, we review experimental research on multistable perception and binocular rivalry, singling out various methodological, theoretical, and empirical aspects of this research relevant to studying the flow of experience. We then review an experimental study from our group explicitly concerned with relating the temporal dynamics of rivalrous experience to the temporal dynamics of cortical activity. Drawing attention to the importance of dealing with ongoing activity and its inherent changing nature at both phenomenological and neurodynamical levels, we argue that the notions of recurrence and variability are pertinent to understanding rivalry in particular and the flow of experience in general.
 
Article
Behavioural evidence suggests that cephalopod molluscs may have a form of primary consciousness. First, the linkage of brain to behaviour seen in lateralization, sleep and through a developmental context is similar to that of mammals and birds. Second, cephalopods, especially octopuses, are heavily dependent on learning in response to both visual and tactile cues, and may have domain generality and form simple concepts. Third, these animals are aware of their position, both within themselves and in larger space, including having a working memory of foraging areas in the recent past. Thus if using a 'global workspace' which evaluates memory input and focuses attention is the criterion, cephalopods appear to have primary consciousness.
 
Article
Both the global workspace theory and Block's distinction between phenomenal and access consciousness, are central in the current debates about consciousness and the neural correlates of consciousness. In this article, a unifying global workspace model for phenomenal and access consciousness is proposed. In the model, recurrent neural interactions take place in distinct yet interacting access and phenomenal brain loops. The effectiveness of feedback signaling onto sensory cortical maps is emphasized for the neural correlates of phenomenal consciousness. Two forms of top-down attention, attention for perception and attention for access, play differential roles for phenomenal and access consciousness. The model is implemented in a neural network form, with the simulation of single and multiple visual object processing, and of the attentional blink.
 
Article
The life sciences in the 20th century were guided to a large extent by a reductionist program seeking to explain biological phenomena in terms of physics and chemistry. Two scientists who figured prominently in the establishment and dissemination of this program were Jacques Loeb in biology and Ivan P. Pavlov in psychological behaviorism. While neither succeeded in accounting for higher mental functions in physical-chemical terms, both adopted positions that reduced the problem of consciousness to the level of reflexes and associations. The intellectual origins of this view and the impediment to the study of consciousness as an object of inquiry in its own right that it may have imposed on peers, students, and those who followed is explored.
 
Article
We report two experiments in which participants had to judge the time of occurrence of a stimulus relative to a clock. The experiments were based on the control condition used by Libet, Gleason, Wright, and Pearl [Libet, B., Gleason, C. A., Wright, E. W., & Pearl, D. K. (1983). Time of conscious intention to act in relation to onset of cerebral activities (readiness-potential): The unconscious initiation of a freely voluntary act. Brain 106, 623-642] to correct for any bias in the estimation of the time at which an endogenous event, the conscious intention to perform a movement, occurred. Participants' responses were affected systematically by the sensory modality of the stimulus and by the speed of the clock. Such findings demonstrate the variability in judging the time at which an exogenous event occurs and, by extension, suggest that such variability may also apply to the judging the time of occurrence of endogenous events. The reliability of participants' estimations of when they formed the conscious intention to perform a movement in Libet et al.'s (1983) study is therefore questionable.
 
Article
There are problems with both the theoretical logic and the interpretation of data in Christie and Barresi's (2002) interesting article. The general pattern of results (described as Orwellian) is easily incorporated into an information-processing framework compatible with Dennett's analysis. In particular, different aspects of the illusory motion event are queried at different times and these aspects (line extent and manner of appearance) are not in conflict, so no revision of conscious content is necessary. Second, too much interpretive weight is placed on an anomalous pair of data points (described as Stalinesque) that do not seem fully interpretable within the author's framework and are probably susceptible to one of several alternative interpretations proposed here, though further investigation is necessary.
 
Article
In this "Reply" paper, the arguments and experimental findings by Pockett, Pollen, and Haggard et al. are analyzed. It had been shown () that a 0.5s duration of repetitive activations of sensory cortex is required to produce a threshold of sensation. The view that this is due to a facilitatory buildup in excitatory state to finally elicit neuronal firing is shown to be incompatible with several lines of evidence. Objections to the phenomenon of subjective referral backwards in time (for the delayed sensation) are also untenable. report that a self-initiated act can, under hypnotic suggestion, appear to the subject to be "involuntary." The act under hypnosis is better viewed as one initiated unconsciously, not as an act of conscious will.
 
Article
Research on learning under anesthesia has focused on showing that learning is possible in the absence of awareness. However, a simple dissociation between learning and awareness is conclusive only under strong additional assumptions, and the actual state of consciousness of an anesthetized person is difficult to determine. Instead of trying to establish complete unconsciousness, one might employ gradual anesthesia to experimentally vary the level of consciousness in a controlled fashion, checking whether cognitive processes exist that can change in opposite direction to measures of awareness.
 
Article
Contra Praetorius (2009), I present two brief arguments which support the existence within the human brain of a pre-reflective core self.
 
Article
Chica and Bartolemeo (Unconscious strategies? Commentary on Risko and Stolz (2010): The proportion valid effect in covert orienting: Strategic control or implicit learning? Consciousness and Cognition,19, 443-444.) agree that our results (Risko, E. F., & Stolz, J. A. (2010). The proportion valid effect in covert orienting: Strategic control or implicit learning? Consciousness and Cognition,19, 432-442.) are consistent with an implicit learning account of the proportion valid effect. Nevertheless, they raise two general issues (1) that an explicit strategy might be operative in other contexts and (2) that orienting in response to implicit knowledge is endogenous. In our response, we address each of these issues and further discuss the concepts of endogenous orienting and cognitive control.
 
Article
Norman et al. (2011) reported that participants exposed in succession to two artificial grammars could be able to learn implicitly about them, and could apply their knowledge strategically to select which string corresponds to one of these two grammars. In this commentary, I identify an artifact that could account for the learning obtained not only in this study, but also in some previous studies using the same procedures. I claim that more methodological control is needed before jumping to conclusions on the kind of strategic control that could be achieved unconsciously.
 
Article
The extended mind thesis (EM) asserts that some cognitive processes are (partially) composed of actions consisting of the manipulation and exploitation of environmental structures. Might some processes at the root of social cognition have a similarly extended structure? In this paper, I argue that social cognition is fundamentally an interactive form of space management--the negotiation and management of "we-space"--and that some of the expressive actions involved in the negotiation and management of we-space (gesture, touch, facial and whole-body expressions) drive basic processes of interpersonal understanding and thus do genuine social-cognitive work. Social interaction is a kind of extended social cognition, driven and at least partially constituted by environmental (non-neural) scaffolding. Challenging the Theory of Mind paradigm, I draw upon research from gesture studies, developmental psychology, and work on Moebius Syndrome to support this thesis.
 
Article
The dream-lag effect refers to there being, after the frequent incorporation of memory elements from the previous day into dreams (the day-residue), a lower incorporation of memory elements from 2 to 4 days before the dream, but then an increased incorporation of memory elements from 5 to 7 days before the dream. Participants (n=8, all female) kept a daily diary and a dream diary for 14 days and then rated the level of matching between every dream report and every daily diary record. Baseline matching was assessed by comparing all dream reports to all diary records for days that occurred after the dream. A significant dream-lag effect for the 5-7 day period, compared to baseline and compared to the 2-4 day period, was found. This may indicate a memory processing function for sleep, which the dream content may reflect. Participants' and three independent judges' mean ratings also confirmed a significant day-residue effect.
 
Tabled summary of major commonalities and other correlates of compulsive fantasizing as reported by enrolled study participants.
Article
The experiences of 90 individuals who self-identify as "excessive" or "maladaptive" fantasizers are summarized in this report. Our sample consisted of 75 female and 15 male participants, ranging in age from 18 to 63 who responded to online announcements. Participants completed a 14-question emailed survey requesting descriptions of their fantasy habits and causes of potential distress regarding fantasy. Results demonstrated that participants shared a number of remarkably specific behaviors and concerns regarding their engagement in extensive periods of highly-structured, immersive imaginative experiences, including the use of kinesthetic activity which accompanies the fantasies of 79% of participants. Participants reported distress stemming from three factors: difficulty in controlling the need or desire to engage in fantasizing; concern that the quantity of fantasizing interfered with actual relationships and endeavors; and intense shame and exhaustive efforts to keep this behavior hidden from others. It is hoped that this report will encourage interest in this elusive syndrome.
 
Article
In their paper: "Learning of Predictive Relations Between Events Depends on Attention, Not on Awareness" Custers & Aarts demonstrate that when one is first exposed to a clear predictive relationship - a consequent predictive relationship will be represented as a unidirectional association ("predictor" to "predicted") in the percievers' minds regardless of their awareness of that relationship. Furthermore, a conscious intention to learn the relationship leads to the formation of a bidirectional (non-predictive) association. While these findings may prove to be a significant step in understanding other forms of implicit learning such as implicit artificial grammar learning and implicit sequence learning and why they are affected by intentional learning; Custers & Aarts' postulation that "top-down" regulation is at work here is debatable as their experimental manipulation can be understood as "bottom-up" activation of implicit learning processes.
 
Sexual offenders' vs. nonoffenders' scores on the classical ToM tasks, with standard error bars.  
Sexual offenders' vs. nonoffenders' scores on the individual scales and on the total Th.o.m.a.s., with standard error bars.  
Correlations between the overall Th.o.m.a.s. score, the overall ToM tasks score, I.Q., use of alcohol and use of drug for the sex offenders' group.
Sexual offenders' vs. nonoffenders' scores on the three Th.o.m.a.s. subscales, with standard error bars.  
Sexual offenders' vs. nonoffenders' scores on the four kind of mental states assessed by Th.o.m.a.s., with standard error bars.  
Article
The paper aims to assess the theory of mind (ToM) of sexual offenders. We administered to 21 sexual offenders and to 21 nonoffenders two classical first- and second-order ToM tasks, a selection of six Strange Stories, and a semi-structured interview, the Theory of Mind Assessment Scale (Th.o.m.a.s), which provides a multi-dimensional evaluation of ToM, investigating first- vs. third-person and egocentric vs. allocentric perspectives. Results show that sexual offenders performed worse than controls on second-order ToM tasks, on Strange Stories and on each of the Th.o.m.a.s dimensions, whereas they did as well as the control group on first-order ToM tasks. A detailed analysis of participants' performance on Th.o.m.a.s. showed that sex offenders performed worse on the third-person than on the first-person ToM scale, and worse on the allocentric than on the egocentric perspective; these findings did not apply to the controls. Implications for future research and treatment are discussed.
 
Mean scores for the subscales of the MIA questionnaires (standard deviations in parentheses).
Correlations (Pearson r) between MIA scales and cognitive variables in the shizophrenia group.
Correlations (Pearson r) between MIA scales and cognitive variables in the healthy comparison group.
Correlations (Pearson r) between MIA scales and SANS and SAPS in the patient group.
Article
Subjective reports and theories about memory may have an influence on other beliefs and behaviours. Patients with schizophrenia suffer a wide range of deficits affecting their awareness of daily life, including memory. With the Metamemory Inventory in Adulthood (MIA) we ascertained patients' memory knowledge and thoughts about their own cognitive capacities and about several aspects of cognitive functioning: personal capacities, knowledge of processes, use of strategies, perceived change with ageing, anxiety, motivation and mastery. The participants' ratings were correlated with their intellectual, cognitive and psychiatric data. Patients felt they had a lower capacity and marginally lower mastery over their memory than comparison subjects. They reported less recourse to strategies, and higher levels of memory-related anxiety. However, their knowledge of basic memory processes, motivation to succeed, and perception of ageing effects were similar. So patients with schizophrenia do not suffer a general and non specific impairment of their metacognitive knowledge.
 
Article
Positive schizophrenic symptoms, especially passivity phenomena, including auditory hallucinations, may be caused by an abnormal sense of agency, which people with schizotypal personality traits also tend to exhibit. A sense of agency asserts that it is oneself who is causing or generating an action. It is possible that this abnormal sense of self-agency is attributable to the abnormal prediction of one's own movements in motor control. We conducted an experiment using the "disappeared cursor" paradigm in which non-clinical, healthy participants were required to click on a target using an invisible mouse cursor. Prediction error was defined as the distance between the target and the click point. The results showed that schizotypal personality traits, but not depressive or anxious traits, were correlated with deficits in predicting movements of the subjects' left hand. In particular, auditory hallucination proneness had the strongest relationship with movement prediction error. In this report, we also discuss the error tendency (overestimations or underestimations of one's own movements). This finding is in accordance with the idea that passivity phenomena or proneness may be caused by the abnormal prediction of one's own actions or movements.
 
Article
Previous work employing graph theory and nonlinear analysis has found increased spatial and temporal disorder, respectively, of functional brain connectivity in schizophrenia. We present a new method combining graph theory and nonlinear techniques that measures the temporal disorder of functional brain connections. Multichannel electroencephalographic data were windowed and functional networks were reconstructed using the minimum spanning trees of correlation matrices. Using a method based on Shannon entropy, we found elevated connection entropy in gamma activity of patients with schizophrenia; however, gamma connection entropy remained elevated in patients with schizophrenia even after a reduction in symptoms due to treatment with antipsychotics. Our results are consistent with several possibilities: (1) aberrant functional connectivity is epiphenomenal to schizophrenia, (2) aberrant functional connectivity is a central feature but antipsychotics reduce symptoms by an independent mechanism, or (3) connection entropy is not an appropriately sensitive measure of brain abnormalities in schizophrenia.
 
Article
Post-decision wagering (Persaud, McLeod, & Cowey, 2007) has been proposed as a method of demonstrating that perception can occur without conscious awareness. When wagering is independent from above-chance performance there is evidence of a lack of awareness of the correctness of the first-order discriminations. However, there are reasons to believe that the contingency analysis conducted by Persaud and colleagues failed to measure "the zero accuracy-wagering criterion". The author shows that a Pearson chi-square test employed by Persaud and colleagues is unable to accommodate the hypothesis of partial independence between accuracy and advantageous wagering. On the contrary, the problem of "the zero accuracy-wagering criterion" is best conducted with log-linear models. Moreover, log-linear analysis suggests that absence of advantageous wagering is not sufficient evidence for a lack of conscious awareness. In the case of the blindsight study, there was compelling evidence that the patient GY was partially aware of having information about the correctness of his decisions.
 
Article
In motion-induced blindness (MIB), a target within rotating random dots is occasionally hidden from observers' consciousness during observation. In the present study, a red ring-like cue was centered on a target and presented immediately after observers reported subjective disappearance of the target in MIB (Experiment 1). The radius of the cue was systematically modulated. Observers quickly regained awareness of the disappeared object only after they were provided with a pinpoint cue of its location. We also found that a flickering cue at 1Hz hindered MIB when the radius of the cue was critically small (Experiment 2). Furthermore, abrupt onset of a small square was enough to regain awareness of the target (Experiment 3). Successful revival of the target with a small cue indicates that critical spatial distribution of visual attention determines what in the visual scene is included in visual awareness.
 
Article
By hypothesis, awareness is involved in the modulation of feedback from semantics to the lexical level in the visual word recognition system. When subjects are aware of the fact that there are many related prime-target pairs in a semantic priming experiment, this knowledge is used to configure the system to feed activation back from semantics to the lexical level so as to facilitate processing. When subjects are unaware of this fact, the default set is maintained in which activation is not fed back from semantics to the lexical level so as to conserve limited resources. Qualitative differences in the pattern of data from two lexical decision experiments that employ masked priming are consistent with this hypothesis. Semantic context and stimulus quality interact when the prime is processed with awareness whereas these same two factors produce additive effects on RT when the prime is unlikely to have been processed with awareness. These experiments thus illustrate one way in which awareness (or lack thereof) affects the dynamics of visual word recognition.
 
Article
In a recent paper in Psychological Science, Kouider and Dupoux reported obtaining unconscious Stroop priming only when subjects had partial awareness of the masked distractor words (i.e., could consciously perceive subword features that enabled reconstruction of whole words). Kouider and Dupoux conjectured that semantic priming occurs only when such partial awareness is present. The present experiments tested this conjecture in an affective categorization priming task that differed from Kouider and Dupoux's in using masked distractors that subjects had practiced earlier as visible words. Experiment 1 showed priming from practiced words when subjects had no partial awareness of those words. Experiment 2 showed that, in the absence of partial awareness, practiced words yielded priming but not-practiced words did not. Experiment 3 corroborated Experiment 1 and 2s results using a different test of partial awareness. These results suggest that unconscious processing (rather than partial awareness) of subword elements drives masked semantic priming by practiced words.
 
Article
We report a novel task designed to elicit transient attention-lapse induced alienation (ALIA) of agency experiences in normal participants. When attention-related action slips occur during the task, participants reported substantially decreased self control as well as a high degree of perceived agency attributed to the errant hand. In addition, participants reported being surprised by, and annoyed with, the actions of the errant hand. We argue that ALIA experiences occur because of constraints imposed by the close and precise temporal relations between intention formation and a contrary action employed in this paradigm. We note similarities between ALIA experiences and anarchic hand sign (AHS) and argue that, despite important differences, both ALIA experiences and AHS phenomenology reflect failures of executive control to intervene and cancel contrary affordance-driven habitual motor plans.
 
Article
A brief self-report scale was developed to assess everyday performance failures arising directly or primarily from brief failures of sustained attention (attention-related cognitive errors-ARCES). The ARCES was found to be associated with a more direct measure of propensity to attention lapses (Mindful Attention Awareness Scale--MAAS) and to errors on an existing behavioral measure of sustained attention (Sustained Attention to Response Task--SART). Although the ARCES and MAAS were highly correlated, structural modelling revealed the ARCES was more directly related to SART errors and the MAAS to SART RTs, which have been hypothesized to directly reflect the lapses of attention that lead to SART errors. Thus, the MAAS and SART RTs appear to directly reflect attention lapses, whereas the ARCES and SART errors reflect the mistakes these lapses are thought to cause. Boredom proneness was also assessed by the BPS, as a separate consequence of a propensity to attention lapses. Although the ARCES was significantly associated with the BPS, this association was entirely accounted for by the MAAS, suggesting that performance errors and boredom are separate consequences of lapses in attention. A tendency to even extraordinarily brief attention lapses on the order of milliseconds may have far-reaching consequences not only for safe and efficient task performance but also for sustaining the motivation to persist in and enjoy these tasks.
 
Article
While dreaming amputees often experience a normal body image and the phantom limb may not be present. However, dreaming experiences in amputees have mainly been collected by questionnaires. We analysed the dream reports of amputated patients with phantom limb collected after awakening from REM sleep during overnight videopolysomnography (VPSG). Six amputated patients underwent overnight VPSG study. Patients were awakened during REM sleep and asked to report their dreams. Three patients were able to deliver an account of a dream. In all dreaming recalls, patients reported that the amputated limbs were intact and completely functional and they no longer experienced phantom limb sensations. Phantom limb experiences, that during wake result from a conflict between a pre-existing body scheme and the sensory information on the missing limb, were suppressed during sleep in our patients in favour of the image of an intact body accessed during dream.
 
Article
Extending a strategy previously used by , we administered a neutral and a trauma-related version of the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm to a sample of women reporting recovered (n=23) or repressed memories (n=16) of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), women reporting having always remembered their abuse (n=55), and women reporting no history of abuse (n=20). We found that individuals reporting recovered memories of CSA are more prone than other participants to falsely recalling and recognizing neutral words that were never presented. Moreover, our study is the first to show that this finding even held when trauma-related material was involved. Correlational analyses revealed that fantasy proneness, but not self-reported traumatic experiences and dissociative symptoms were related to false recall and false recognition.
 
Article
An object in continuous motion is perceived ahead of the briefly flashed object, although the two images are physically aligned (Nijhawan, 1994), the phenomenon called flash-lag effect. Flash-lag effects have been found also with other continuously changing features such as color, pattern entropy, and brightness (Sheth, Nijhawan, & Shimojo, 2000) as well as with streamed pre- and post-target input without any change of the feature values of streaming items in feature space (Bachmann & Põder, 2001a. 2001b). We interpret all instances of the flash-lag as a consequence of a more fundamental property of conscious perception in general: acceleration of the speed with which samples of perceptual information become represented in explicit format immediately after the stimulation onset. Decreased visual latency of the samples of stimulus information from the streamed input leads to the relative perceptual lag for the separately flashed stimulus because it is not preceded by adjacent sensory input that would have accelerated its perception. Experimental support for the notion of perceptual acceleration is reviewed.
 
Article
The present study used masked repetition priming to examine whether face representations can be accessed without attention. Two experiments using a face recognition task (fame judgement) presented masked repetition and control primes in spatially unattended locations prior to target onset. Experiment 1 (n=20) used the same images as primes and as targets and Experiment 2 (n=17) used different images of the same individual as primes and targets. Repetition priming was observed across both experiments regardless of whether spatial attention was cued to the location of the prime. Priming occurred for both famous and non-famous targets in Experiment 1 but was only reliable for famous targets in Experiment 2, suggesting that priming in Experiment 1 indexed access to view-specific representations whereas priming in Experiment 2 indexed access to view-invariant, abstract representations. Overall, the results indicate that subliminal access to abstract face representations does not rely on attention.
 
Article
Snodgrass et al.'s (2009) commentary makes explicit one of the major problems in consciousness research; that there seem to be just as many definitions of basic terms are there are people in the field. Although Snodgrass et al.'s position appears at odds with the views expressed in Irvine (this issue), many of their arguments are actually consistent with the proposed views, or else fail to engage with them as a consequence of the shifting goal posts of what basic terms mean.
 
Article
Access can either be first-order or second-order. First order access concerns whether contents achieve representation in phenomenal consciousness at all; second-order access concerns whether phenomenally conscious contents are selected for metacognitive, higher order processing by reflective consciousness. When the optional and flexible nature of second-order access is kept in mind, there remain strong reasons to believe that exclusion failure can indeed isolate phenomenally conscious stimuli that are not so accessed. Irvine's [Irvine, E. (2009). Signal detection theory, the exclusion failure paradigm and weak consciousness-Evidence for the access/phenomenal distinction? Consciousness and Cognition.] partial access argument fails because exclusion failure is indeed due to lack of second-order access, not insufficient phenomenally conscious information. Further, the enable account conforms with both qualitative differences and subjective report, and is simpler than the endow account. Finally, although first-order access may be a distinct and important process, second-order access arguably reflects the core meaning of access generally.
 
Top-cited authors
Charles Spence
  • University of Oxford
James W Moore
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
Albert Newen
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Matthis Synofzik
  • University of Tuebingen
Gottfried Vosgerau
  • Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf