On determining what is unconscious and what is perception

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In sum, dichotic listening tasks are appropriate for testing whether perception requires attention. The separate issue of the possible presence of perception that can never be brought under the spotlight of awareness should indeed be investigated by paradigms such as masking. However, the ultimate criterion for availability to awareness must be phenomenal experience. The discrepancy between thresholds of different perceptual indices is an important empirical finding, but its theoretical interpretation is not straightforward. In addition, it is suggested that we worry about the possibility that so-called indirect evidence reflects side effects of perceptual processing rather than the contents of its final product. In that case, what are being observed are vestiges of the processing of stimuli that do not make it to awareness. Whether those stimuli are below the threshold for overt response is an open question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-45
Number of pages2
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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