There are many ways to approach the understanding of consciousness. Questions about these ways have occupied philosophers and metaphysicians for centuries. During the early growth of cognitive science the problem of consciousness remained taboo, but an increasing number of studies have either implicitly or explicitly begun to bear on its nature. These have been inspired by a number of different different original questions, and focus on a variety of different empirical phenomena. Thus, studies of implicit memory, subliminal processing, strategic versus automatic processing, allocation of attention, and differences between information processes in the awake versus dreaming state all share a common assumption of a particular quality or state -- awakeness, awareness, alertness, namely consciousness -- that somehow can be distinguished from another type of state or states in which the subject is not aware of the information being processed. What distinguishes the cognitive psychological and cognitive neuroscience approach to the question of consciousness from that of philosophy and metaphysics is scientific methodology: a set of tools that permit the empirical study of a phenomenon in an objective and reproducible way. Recent developments in both the empirical and theoretical methodologies of these fields have made it possible to begin to study the phenomenon associated with -- if not directly underlying -- consciousness in a scientific fashion.
This volume tries to resolve the difficulties associated with the scientific investigation of consciousness. The intent is to explore the extent to which consciousness can be the target of direct scientific inquiry, to get on the table some of the relevant work, and consider the degree to which this research can help inform our understanding of consciousness. It brings together a group of cognitive and neuroscientists to share relevant recent research in the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience and to determine whether any new strategies for the scientific pursuit of this question can be developed. A long-term goal is the development of a unified understanding of consciousness, scientific as well as philosophical perspectives. This volume takes the first step toward building the necessary local bridges.
Contents: Preface. Part I: Introduction. J.D. Cohen, J.W. Schooler, Science and Sentience: Some Questions Regarding the Scientific Investigation of Consciousness. Part II: Attention and Automaticity. L.L. Jacoby, A.P. Yonelinas, J.M. Jennings, The Relation Between Conscious and Unconscious (Automatic) Influences: A Declaration of Independence. R.M. Shiffrin, Attention, Automatism, and Consciousness. W. Schneider, M. Pimm-Smith, Consciousness as a Message Aware Control Mechanism to Modulate Cognitive Processing. Part III: Subliminal Perception. A.G. Greenwald, S.C. Draine, Do Subliminal Stimuli Enter the Mind Unnoticed? Tests With a New Method. P.M. Merikle, S. Joordens, Measuring Unconscious Influences. L.M. Reder, J.S. Gordon, Subliminal Perception: Nothing Special, Cognitively Speaking. Part IV: Implicit Learning and Memory. A.S. Reber, How to Differentiate Implicit and Explicit Modes of Acquisition. P. Lewicki, M. Czyzewska, T. Hill, Cognitive Mechanisms for Acquiring "Experience": The Dissociation Between Conscious and Nonconscious Cognition. D.E. Dulany, Consciousness in the Explicit (Deliberative) and Implicit (Evocative). S. Rajaram, H.L. Roediger, III, Remembering and Knowing as States of Consciousness During Retrieval. J.W. Schooler, S.M. Fiore, Consciousness and the Limits of Language: You Can't Always Say What You Think or Think What You Say. Part V: Metacognitive Processes. M.K. Johnson, J.A. Reeder, Consciousness as Meta-processing. D.M. Wegner, Why the Mind Wanders. T.D. Wilson, The Psychology of Meta-Psychology. Part VI: Neuropsychological and Neurobiological Approaches. M. Kinsbourne, What Qualifies a Representation for a Role in Consciousness? M.J. Farah, R.C. O'Reilly, S.P. Vecera, The Neural Correlates of Perceptual Awareness: Evidence From Covert Recognition in Prosopagnosia. C. Glymour, Déjà Vu All Over Again? J.A. Hobson, Consciousness as a State-Dependent Phenomenon. J.D. Cohen, Dimensions of Consciousness: A Commentary on Kinsbourne and Hobson. Part VII: Theoretical Issues and Approaches. O. Flanagan, Prospects for a Unified Theory of Consciousness or, What Dreams Are Made of. B.J. Baars, M.R. Fehling, M. LaPolla, K. McGovern, Consciousness Creates Access: Conscious Goal Images Recruit Unconscious Action Routines, but Goal Competition Serves to "Liberate" Such Routines, Causing Predictable Slips. D. Galin, What Is the Difference Between a Duck? J.F. Kihlstrom, Consciousness and Me-ness. D.E. Rumelhart, Affect and Neuromodulation: A Connectionist Approach. G. Mandler, Consciousness Redux. J.L. McClelland, The Neural Basis of Consciousness and Explicit Memory: Reflections on Kihlstrom, Mandler, and Rumelhart. Part VIII: Closing Comments. H.A. Simon, Scientific Approaches to the Question of Consciousness.