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Abstract: Psychology can be based on plans, internally held images of achievement that organize the stimulus-response links of traditional psychology. The hierarchical structure of plans must be produced, held, assigned priorities, and monitored. Consciousness is the operation of the plan-executing mechanism, enabling behavior to be driven by plans rather than immediate environmental contingencies. The mechanism unpacks a single internally held idea into a series of actions. New in this paper is the proposal that language uses this mechanism for communication, unpacking an idea into a series of articulatory acts. Language comprehension uses the plan-monitoring mechanism to pack a series of linguistic events into an idea. Recursive processing results from monitoring one's own speech. Neurophysiologically, the planning mechanism is identified with higher-order motor control
Abstract: The 'subjective reduction' interpretation of measurement in quantum physics proposes that the collapse of the wave-packet, associated with measurement, is due to the consciousness of human observers. A refined conceptual replication of an earlier experiment, designed and carried out to test this interpretation in the 1970s, is reported. Two improvements are introduced. First, the delay between pre-observation and final observation of the same quantum event is increased from a few microseconds in the original experiment to one second in this replication. Second, rather than using the final observers' verbal response as the dependent variable, his early brain responses as measured by EEG are used. These early responses cover a period during which an observer is not yet conscious of an observed event. Our results support the 'subjective reduction' hypothesis insofar as significant differences in the brain responses of the final observer are found, depending on whether or not the pre-observer has been looking at the quantum event . Alternative 'normal' explanations are discussed and rejected. It is concluded that the present results do justify further research along these lines
Abstract: Why do so many people believe in psychic phenomena? Because they have psychic experiences. And why do they have psychic experiences? Because such experiences are an inevitable consequence of the way we think. I suggest that, like visual illusions, they are the price we pay for a generally very effective relationship with a massively complex world
Abstract: Consciousness is a hot topic. Relegated to the fringes of science for most of the twentieth century, the question of consciousness only crept back to legitimacy with the collapse of behaviourism in the 1960s and 1970s, and only recently became an acceptable term for psychologists to use. Now many neuroscientists talk enthusiastically about the nature of consciousness, there are societies and regular conferences, and some say that consciousness is the greatest challenge for twenty-first century science. Although confusion abounds, there is at least some agreement that at the heart of the problem lies the question of subjectivity - or what it’s like for _me_. As philosopher Thomas Nagel (1974) put it when he asked his famous question "What is it like to be a bat?" - if there is something it is like _for the bat_ then we can say that the bat is conscious. This is what we mean by consciousness - consciousness is private and subjective and this is why it is so difficult to understand
Abstract: Also published in 1998 in S.R.Hameroff, A.W.Kaszniak and .C.Scott (Eds) _Toward a Science of_ _Consciousness II._ MIT Press. 701-707. Note that there were problems with the editing of this volume and there are some misprints. This version is correct
Abstract: Are there relationships between consciousness and the material world? Empirical evidence for such a connection was reported in several meta-analyses of mind-matter experiments designed to address this question. In this paper we consider such meta-analyses from a statistical modeling perspective, emphasizing strategies to validate the models and the associated statistical procedures. In particular, we explicitly model increased data variability and selection mechanisms, which permits us to estimate 'selection profiles ' and to reassess the experimental effect in view of potential other effects. An application to the data pool considered in the influential meta-analysis of Radin and Nelson (1989) yields indications for the presence of random and selection effects Adjustment for possible selection is found to render the,without such an adjustment significant, experimental effect non-significant. Somewhat different conclusions apply to a subset of the data deserving separate consideration. The actual origin of the data features that are described as experimental, random, or selection effects within the proposed model cannot be clarified y our approach and remains open
Abstract: possible, your investigation is unlikely ever to get off the ground), there’s no such excuse for philosophers. The philosopher should be unrestricted by fashions in thought, including the unquestioning acceptance of whatever scientific theories are currently dominant. The fact is, however, that in this field and in the philosophy of mind, many
Abstract: When he formulated the program of neurophenomenology, Francisco Varela suggested a balanced methodological dissolution of the hard problem of consciousness. I show that his dissolution is a paradigm which imposes itself onto seemingly opposite views, including materialist approaches. I also point out that Varela's revolutionary epistemological ideas are gaining wider acceptance as a side effect of a recent controversy between hermeneutists and eliminativists. Finally, I emphasize a structural parallel between the science of consciousness and the distinctive features of quantum mechanics. This parallel, together with the former convergences, point towards the common origin of the main puzzles of both quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mind: neglect of the constitutive blindspot of objective knowledge
Abstract: This paper is an edited transcription of a talk at the 1997 Montreal symposium on "Consciousness at the Frontiers of Neuroscience". There's not much here that isn't said elsewhere, e.g. in "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness" and "How Can We Construct a Science of Consciousness?"]]
Abstract: First-person and third-person perspectives are different items of human consciousness. Feeling the taste of a fruit or being consciously part of a group eating fruits call for different perspectives of consciousness. The latter is about objective reality (third-person data). The former is about subjective experience (first-person data) and cannot be described entirely by objective reality. We propose to look at how these two perspectives could be rooted in an evolutionary origin of human consciousness, and somehow be connected. Our starting point is a scenario describing how evolution could have transformed a non self-conscious auto-representation into a conscious self-representation (Menant 2006). The scenario is based on the performance of inter-subjectivity existing among non human primates (Gardenfors 2006). A key item of the scenario is the identification of the auto-representation of a subject with the representations that the subject has of her conspecifics, the latter feeding the former with the meaning: “existing in the environment”. So during evolution, pre-human primates were brought to perceive their auto-representation as existing in the environment. Such process could have generated the initial elements of a conscious self-representation. We take this scenario as providing a possible rooting of human consciousness in evolution. We develop here a part of this scenario by expliciting the inward and outward components of the non self-conscious auto-representation. Inward components are about proprioception and interoception (thirst, pain, …). Outward components cover the sensory information relative to the perception of the body (seen feet, … ) and of its effects on the environment. We consider that the initial elements of a conscious self-representation have been applied to both inward and outward components of the auto-representation. We propose that the application to inward components made possible some first-person information, and that the application to outward components brought up third-person information. Relations between the two perspectives are highlighted. Such approach can root first-person and third-person perspectives in the same slot of human evolution. We conclude by a summary of the above and introduce a possible application of this approach to the concepts of bodily self and of pre-reflexive self-consciousness (Legrand, 2006)
Abstract: In order to distinguish the conscious state itself from its aspects and contents we need an answer to the question "if there is something it is like to be conscious, what is it?" A succinct answer to this question is provided in the form of a common denominator of all conscious states. This characterization of the conscious state has implications for the systematic study of consciousness through its bearing on a number of concrete issues connected with the nature of consciousness and its relation to the biology of brains and their evolution. These are discussed with a view to delineating the characteristics of consciousness, suggesting the primary functional role of consciousness in the total economy of brain functions, and exploring the tractability of the problem of consciousness from the standpoint of ordinary science. 1997
Abstract: The study of consciousness in modern science is hampered by deeply ingrained, dualist presuppositions about the nature of consciousness. In particular, conscious experiences are thought to be private and subjective, contrasting with physical phenomena which are public and objective. In the present article, I argue that all observed phenomena are, in a sense, private to a given observer, although there are some events to which there is public access. Phenomena can be objective in the sense of intersubjective, investigators can be objective in the sense of truthful or dispassionate, and procedures can be objective in being well-specified, but observed phenomena cannot be objective in the sense of being observer-free. Phenomena are only repeatable in the sense that they are judged by a community of observers to be tokens of the same type. Stripped of its dualist trappings the empirical method becomes if you carry out these procedures you will observe or experience these results - which applies as much to a science of consciousness as it does to physics
Abstract: What makes us conscious? Many theories that attempt to answer this question have appeared recently in the context of widespread interest about consciousness in the cognitive neurosciences. Most of these proposals are formulated in terms of the information processing conducted by the brain. In this overview, we survey and contrast these models. We first delineate several notions of consciousness, addressing what it is that the various models are attempting to explain. Next, we describe a conceptual landscape that addresses how the theories attempt to explain consciousness. We then situate each of several representative models in this landscape and indicate which aspect of consciousness they try to explain. We conclude that the search for the neural correlates of consciousness should be usefully complemented by a search for the computational correlates of consciousness
Abstract: How does conscious experience emerge from a physical basis? At a first glance, this is the question about the mind that most needs answering. So it is curious that those who study the mind professionally have often avoided the question entirely. In psychology, the cognitive revolution did not make consciousness respectable: most cognitive psychologists have stuck to subjects such as learning, memory, and perception instead. Neuroscientists have been known to speculate on the topic, but usually only late at night, after a few drinks. Even philosophers have been curiously diffident. Some have been exercised by the fact that there is a problem, others have been concerned to deny the problem entirely, but the focus of inquiry has remained elsewhere. As in all these fields, serious theories of consciousness have been hard to come by
Abstract: An easily-accessible introduction is provided for theauthor''s book Enchanted Looms , which is reviewedelsewhere in this volume by Jesse Prinz and by MarcelKinsbourne, and also for the article Didconsciousness evolve from self-paced probing of theenvironment, and not from reflexes? , which alsoappears in this volume and which summarises theauthor''s more recent thoughts on consciousness
Abstract: One day someone will write a book that explains consciousness. The book will put forward a theory that closes the “explanatory gap” between conscious experience and brain activity, by showing how a brain state could in principle amount to a state of consciousness. But it will do more. It will demonstrate just why this particular brain state has to be this particular experience. As Dan Lloyd puts it in his philosophical novel, Radiant Cool: “What we need is a transparent theory. One that, once you get it, you see that anything built like this will have this particular conscious experience.”1
Abstract: This article summarizes a variety of current as well as previous research in support of a new theory of consciousness. Evidence has been steadily accumulating that information about a stimulus complex is distributed to many neuronal populations dispersed throughout the brain and is represented by the departure from randomness of the temporal pattern of neural discharges within these large ensembles. Zero phase lag synchronization occurs between discharges of neurons in different brain regions and is enhanced by presentation of stimuli. This evidence further suggests that spatiotemporal patterns of coherence, which have been identified by spatial principal component analysis, may encode a multidimensional representation of a present or past event. How such distributed information is integrated into a holistic percept constitutes the binding problem. How a percept defined by a spatial distribution of nonrandomness can be subjectively experienced constitutes the problem of consciousness. Explanations based on a discrete connectionistic network cannot be reconciled with the relevant facts. Evidence is presented herein of invariant features of brain electrical activity found to change reversibly with loss and return of consciousness in a study of 176 patients anesthetized during surgical procedures. A review of relevant research areas, as well as the anesthesia data, leads to a postulation that consciousness is a property of quantumlike processes, within a brain field resonating within a core of structures, which may be the neural substrate of consciousness. This core includes regions of the prefrontal cortex, the frontal cortex, the pre- and paracentral cortex, thalamus, limbic system, and basal ganglia
Abstract: Many sophisticated essays and books have been written about the topic of consciousness. My own contributions date back some twenty-five years in an essay entitled 'Problems concerning the structure of consciousness' (Pribram 1976), and five years before that in delineating the difference between brain processes that are coordinate with awareness and those that are coordinate with habitual behavior (Pribram 1971a). I have been intrigued by what has been written since and take this occasion to reassess a few of the major issues that have arisen
Abstract: There was a brief inaugural session of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness during the Psychonomic Society Conference in Los Angeles in November 1995, but the first full conference of the Association was held this June in the very pleasant surroundings of the Claremont Colleges. Being at this conference was very different from being at Tucson II the previous year. This was a less ballyhooed, more intimate event, maybe less exciting, and less intellectually eclectic, but also perhaps more conducive to serious scientific exchange. Certainly the roster of speakers was replete with luminaries of the consciousness studies movement, and highly respected names from psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy: Christof Koch, Bernard Baars, Ned Block, Philip Merikle, Daniel Schacter, Larry Jacoby, Walter Freeman, Valerie Hardcastle, both Churchlands, Melvyn Goodale, Owen Flanagan .Â .Â . to unfairly pick out just a few
Abstract: Present progress in mind science is racing away in the direction of denying the existence of human freewill and animal and human sentience. This brief paper attempts to summarise a few brief reasons why areas of present work by prominent authors have departed from fact to the realms of folk psychology and summarises some of the ways in which present work can be put right. An experiment is described and carried out in an attempt to breach a little more of the present gap between experimental fact and the outmoded theory which others have tried to apply blindly.