The way one asks a question is shaped by a-priori assumptions and constrains the range of possible answers. We identify and test the assumptions underlying contemporary debates, models, and methodology in the study of the neural correlates of consciousness, which was framed by Crick and Koch's seminal paper (1990). These premises create a sequential and passive conception of conscious perception: it is considered the product of resolved information processing by unconscious mechanisms, produced by a singular event in time and place representing the moment of entry. The conscious percept produced is then automatically retained to be utilized by post-conscious mechanisms. Major debates in the field, such as concern the moment of entry, the all-or-none vs graded nature, and report vs no-report paradigms, are driven by the consensus on these assumptions. We show how removing these assumptions can resolve some of the debates and challenges and prompt additional questions. The potential non-sequential nature of perception suggests new ways of thinking about consciousness as a dynamic and dispersed process, and in turn about the relationship between conscious and unconscious perception. Moreover, it allows us to present a parsimonious account for conscious perception while addressing more aspects of the phenomenon.
- Conscious perception
- Unconscious perception
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology