Special Issue "The Brain Knows More than It Admits: The Control of Cognition and Emotion by Non-Conscious Processes"

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A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2011)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Peter Walla (Website)

School of Psychology, Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308 NSW, Newcastle, Australia
Interests: applied neuroscience; sub- and unconscious information processing in the human brain; emotion; cognition; memory; olfaction; product evaluation; consumer behavior; decision making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Most of us agree that human decision making and finally behaviour is based on and influenced by cognition- and emotion-related information processing some of which takes place without simultaneous awareness. Phenomena such as priming and implicit memory are well known and demonstrate that stored information is able to change human behaviour in the complete absence of any awareness. To what extent such non-conscious information processing contributes to even highest forms of brain functions remains unclear. However, evidence accumulates leading to the notion that astonishingly much of our most sophisticated brain functions work totally independent from consciousness. Discrepancies between self report and objective measurement have been reported. The brain knows more than it admits.

The current special issue is meant to collect a selected number of articles that demonstrate how information processing in the absence of awareness (non-conscious information processing) is able to manage and influence even complex human cognitive and emotion-related information processing and thus guides human behaviour outside subjective experience.

Prof. Dr. Peter Walla
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • non-conscious processing
  • cognition
  • emotion
  • behaviour
  • absence of awareness
  • complex brain processes

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Defining the Parameters of Incidental Learning on a Serial Reaction Time (SRT) Task: Do Conscious Rules Apply?
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 769-789; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040769
Received: 20 September 2012 / Revised: 29 October 2012 / Accepted: 12 December 2012 / Published: 17 December 2012
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Abstract
There is ongoing debate about the contribution of explicit processes to incidental learning, particularly attention, working memory and control mechanisms. Studies generally measure explicit process contributions to incidental learning by comparing dual- to single-task sequence learning on some variant of a Serial [...] Read more.
There is ongoing debate about the contribution of explicit processes to incidental learning, particularly attention, working memory and control mechanisms. Studies generally measure explicit process contributions to incidental learning by comparing dual- to single-task sequence learning on some variant of a Serial Reaction Time (SRT), usually adopting an auditory tone counting task as the secondary task/memory load. Few studies have used secondary working memory stimuli with the SRT task, those that have typically presented secondary stimuli, before, after or between primary task stimuli. Arguably, this design is problematic because participants may potentially “switch” attention between sequential stimulus sources limiting the potential of both tasks to simultaneously index shared cognitive resources. In the present study secondary Visual and Verbal, memory tasks were temporally synchronous and spatially embedded with the primary SRT task for Visual and Verbal dual-task conditions and temporally synchronous but spatially displaced for Visual-Spatial and Verbal-Spatial Above/Below conditions, to investigate modality specific contributions of visual, verbal and spatial memory to incidental and explicit sequence learning. Incidental learning scores were not different as an effect of condition but explicit scores were. Explicit scores significantly and incrementally diminished from the Single-task through Visual-Spatial Below conditions; percentage accuracy scores on secondary tasks followed a significant corresponding pattern suggesting an explicit learning/secondary memory task trade-off as memory demands of tasks increased across condition. Incidental learning boundary conditions are unlikely to substantially comprise working memory processes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Subliminal Affect Valence Words Change Conscious Mood Potency but Not Valence: Is This Evidence for Unconscious Valence Affect?
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 504-522; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040504
Received: 27 August 2012 / Revised: 27 September 2012 / Accepted: 6 October 2012 / Published: 17 October 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (221 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Whether or not affect can be unconscious remains controversial. Research claiming to demonstrate unconscious affect fails to establish clearly unconscious stimulus conditions. The few investigations that have established unconscious conditions fail to rule out conscious affect changes. We report two studies in [...] Read more.
Whether or not affect can be unconscious remains controversial. Research claiming to demonstrate unconscious affect fails to establish clearly unconscious stimulus conditions. The few investigations that have established unconscious conditions fail to rule out conscious affect changes. We report two studies in which unconscious stimulus conditions were met and conscious mood changes measured. The subliminal stimuli were positive and negative affect words presented at the objective detection threshold; conscious mood changes were measured with standard manikin valence, potency, and arousal scales. We found and replicated that unconscious emotional stimuli produced conscious mood changes on the potency scale but not on the valence scale. Were positive and negative affects aroused unconsciously, but reflected consciously in potency changes? Or were the valence words unconscious cognitive causes of conscious mood changes being activated without unconscious affect? A thought experiment is offered as a way to resolve this dilemma. Full article
Open AccessCommunication There Are Conscious and Unconscious Agendas in the Brain and Both Are Important—Our Will Can Be Conscious as Well as Unconscious
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(3), 405-420; doi:10.3390/brainsci2030405
Received: 28 June 2012 / Revised: 28 August 2012 / Accepted: 30 August 2012 / Published: 18 September 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
I have been asked to write a few words on consciousness in this editorial issue. My thoughts on consciousness will focus on the relation between consciousness and will. Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon as some people believe—it is not a psychological construct [...] Read more.
I have been asked to write a few words on consciousness in this editorial issue. My thoughts on consciousness will focus on the relation between consciousness and will. Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon as some people believe—it is not a psychological construct either. Consciousness is a brain function. With deeper thought it is even more than that—a brain state. Writing this, I am in a conscious state, I hope at least. In every day philosophy, a close connection of consciousness with will is ventured, and is expressed in the term “conscious free will”. However, this does not mean that our will is totally determined and not free, be it conscious or unconscious. Total determinists postulate total freedom from nature in order to speak of free will. Absolute freedom from nature is an a priori impossibility; there is no way to escape from nature. However, we have relative freedom, graded freedom, freedom in degrees, enabling us to make responsible decisions and be captains of our own destiny. We are not totally determined. We can upregulate our degrees of freedom by self-management or we can downregulate them by self-mismanagement. In the present communication consciousness and the unconscious are discussed in their various aspects and interactions. Full article
Open AccessArticle The N400 and Late Positive Complex (LPC) Effects Reflect Controlled Rather than Automatic Mechanisms of Sentence Processing
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(3), 267-297; doi:10.3390/brainsci2030267
Received: 21 June 2012 / Revised: 16 July 2012 / Accepted: 1 August 2012 / Published: 14 August 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1036 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study compared automatic and controlled cognitive processes that underlie event-related potentials (ERPs) effects during speech perception. Sentences were presented to French native speakers, and the final word could be congruent or incongruent, and presented at one of four levels of degradation [...] Read more.
This study compared automatic and controlled cognitive processes that underlie event-related potentials (ERPs) effects during speech perception. Sentences were presented to French native speakers, and the final word could be congruent or incongruent, and presented at one of four levels of degradation (using a modulation with pink noise): no degradation, mild degradation (2 levels), or strong degradation. We assumed that degradation impairs controlled more than automatic processes. The N400 and Late Positive Complex (LPC) effects were defined as the differences between the corresponding wave amplitudes to incongruent words minus congruent words. Under mild degradation, where controlled sentence-level processing could still occur (as indicated by behavioral data), both N400 and LPC effects were delayed and the latter effect was reduced. Under strong degradation, where sentence processing was rather automatic (as indicated by behavioral data), no ERP effect remained. These results suggest that ERP effects elicited in complex contexts, such as sentences, reflect controlled rather than automatic mechanisms of speech processing. These results differ from the results of experiments that used word-pair or word-list paradigms. Full article
Open AccessArticle Combining Computational Modeling and Neuroimaging to Examine Multiple Category Learning Systems in the Brain
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 176-202; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020176
Received: 1 March 2012 / Revised: 30 March 2012 / Accepted: 18 April 2012 / Published: 23 April 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (736 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considerable evidence has argued in favor of multiple neural systems supporting human category learning, one based on conscious rule inference and one based on implicit information integration. However, there have been few attempts to study potential system interactions during category learning. The [...] Read more.
Considerable evidence has argued in favor of multiple neural systems supporting human category learning, one based on conscious rule inference and one based on implicit information integration. However, there have been few attempts to study potential system interactions during category learning. The PINNACLE (Parallel Interactive Neural Networks Active in Category Learning) model incorporates multiple categorization systems that compete to provide categorization judgments about visual stimuli. Incorporating competing systems requires inclusion of cognitive mechanisms associated with resolving this competition and creates a potential credit assignment problem in handling feedback. The hypothesized mechanisms make predictions about internal mental states that are not always reflected in choice behavior, but may be reflected in neural activity. Two prior functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of category learning were re-analyzed using PINNACLE to identify neural correlates of internal cognitive states on each trial. These analyses identified additional brain regions supporting the two types of category learning, regions particularly active when the systems are hypothesized to be in maximal competition, and found evidence of covert learning activity in the “off system” (the category learning system not currently driving behavior). These results suggest that PINNACLE provides a plausible framework for how competing multiple category learning systems are organized in the brain and shows how computational modeling approaches and fMRI can be used synergistically to gain access to cognitive processes that support complex decision-making machinery. Full article
Open AccessArticle Subliminal and Supraliminal Processing of Facial Expression of Emotions: Brain Oscillation in the Left/Right Frontal Area
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 85-100; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020085
Received: 30 January 2012 / Revised: 24 February 2012 / Accepted: 16 March 2012 / Published: 26 March 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The unconscious effects of an emotional stimulus have been highlighted by a vast amount of research, whereover it remains questionable whether it is possible to assign a specific function to cortical brain oscillations in the unconscious perception of facial expressions of emotions. [...] Read more.
The unconscious effects of an emotional stimulus have been highlighted by a vast amount of research, whereover it remains questionable whether it is possible to assign a specific function to cortical brain oscillations in the unconscious perception of facial expressions of emotions. Alpha band variation was monitored within the right- and left-cortical side when subjects consciously (supraliminal stimulation) or unconsciously (subliminal stimulation) processed facial patterns. Twenty subjects looked at six facial expressions of emotions (anger, fear, surprise, disgust, happiness, sadness, and neutral) under two different conditions: supraliminal (200 ms) vs. subliminal (30 ms) stimulation (140 target-mask pairs for each condition). The results showed that conscious/unconscious processing and the significance of the stimulus can modulate the alpha power. Moreover, it was found that there was an increased right frontal activity for negative emotions vs. an increased left response for positive emotion. The significance of facial expressions was adduced to elucidate cortical different responses to emotional types. Full article
Open AccessArticle Unconscious Cueing via the Superior Colliculi: Evidence from Searching for Onset and Color Targets
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(1), 33-60; doi:10.3390/brainsci2010033
Received: 13 December 2011 / Revised: 3 February 2012 / Accepted: 7 February 2012 / Published: 15 February 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2697 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
According to the bottom-up theory of attention, unconscious abrupt onsets are highly salient and capture attention via the Superior Colliculi (SC). Crucially, abrupt onsets increase the perceived contrast. In line with the SC hypothesis, unconscious abrupt-onset cues capture attention regardless of the [...] Read more.
According to the bottom-up theory of attention, unconscious abrupt onsets are highly salient and capture attention via the Superior Colliculi (SC). Crucially, abrupt onsets increase the perceived contrast. In line with the SC hypothesis, unconscious abrupt-onset cues capture attention regardless of the cue color when participants search for abrupt-onset targets (Experiment 1). Also, stronger cueing effects occur for higher than lower contrast cues (Experiment 2) and for temporally, rather than nasally, presented stimuli (Experiment 3). However, in line with the known color-insensitivity of the SC, the SC pathway is shunted and unconscious abrupt-onset cues no longer capture attention when the participants have to search for color-defined targets (Experiment 4) or color-singleton targets (Experiment 5). When using color change cues instead of abrupt-onset cues, the cueing effect also vanishes (Experiment 6). Together the results support the assumption that unconscious cues can capture attention in different ways, depending on the exact task of the participants, but that one way is attentional capture via the SC. The present findings also offer a reconciliation of conflicting results in the domain of unconscious attention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Implicit Recognition Based on Lateralized Perceptual Fluency
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(1), 22-32; doi:10.3390/brainsci2010022
Received: 20 December 2011 / Revised: 21 January 2012 / Accepted: 31 January 2012 / Published: 6 February 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (368 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In some circumstances, accurate recognition of repeated images in an explicit memory test is driven by implicit memory. We propose that this “implicit recognition” results from perceptual fluency that influences responding without awareness of memory retrieval. Here we examined whether recognition would [...] Read more.
In some circumstances, accurate recognition of repeated images in an explicit memory test is driven by implicit memory. We propose that this “implicit recognition” results from perceptual fluency that influences responding without awareness of memory retrieval. Here we examined whether recognition would vary if images appeared in the same or different visual hemifield during learning and testing. Kaleidoscope images were briefly presented left or right of fixation during divided-attention encoding. Presentation in the same visual hemifield at test produced higher recognition accuracy than presentation in the opposite visual hemifield, but only for guess responses. These correct guesses likely reflect a contribution from implicit recognition, given that when the stimulated visual hemifield was the same at study and test, recognition accuracy was higher for guess responses than for responses with any level of confidence. The dramatic difference in guessing accuracy as a function of lateralized perceptual overlap between study and test suggests that implicit recognition arises from memory storage in visual cortical networks that mediate repetition-induced fluency increments. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Brain. Conscious and Unconscious Mechanisms of Cognition, Emotions, and Language
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 790-834; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040790
Received: 25 September 2012 / Revised: 6 December 2012 / Accepted: 12 December 2012 / Published: 18 December 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1425 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Conscious and unconscious brain mechanisms, including cognition, emotions and language are considered in this review. The fundamental mechanisms of cognition include interactions between bottom-up and top-down signals. The modeling of these interactions since the 1960s is briefly reviewed, analyzing the ubiquitous difficulty: [...] Read more.
Conscious and unconscious brain mechanisms, including cognition, emotions and language are considered in this review. The fundamental mechanisms of cognition include interactions between bottom-up and top-down signals. The modeling of these interactions since the 1960s is briefly reviewed, analyzing the ubiquitous difficulty: incomputable combinatorial complexity (CC). Fundamental reasons for CC are related to the Gödel’s difficulties of logic, a most fundamental mathematical result of the 20th century. Many scientists still “believed” in logic because, as the review discusses, logic is related to consciousness; non-logical processes in the brain are unconscious. CC difficulty is overcome in the brain by processes “from vague-unconscious to crisp-conscious” (representations, plans, models, concepts). These processes are modeled by dynamic logic, evolving from vague and unconscious representations toward crisp and conscious thoughts. We discuss experimental proofs and relate dynamic logic to simulators of the perceptual symbol system. “From vague to crisp” explains interactions between cognition and language. Language is mostly conscious, whereas cognition is only rarely so; this clarifies much about the mind that might seem mysterious. All of the above involve emotions of a special kind, aesthetic emotions related to knowledge and to cognitive dissonances. Cognition-language-emotional mechanisms operate throughout the hierarchy of the mind and create all higher mental abilities. The review discusses cognitive functions of the beautiful, sublime, music. Full article
Open AccessReview Anterior Prefrontal Contributions to Implicit Attention Control
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 254-266; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020254
Received: 13 April 2012 / Revised: 4 June 2012 / Accepted: 5 June 2012 / Published: 15 June 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (506 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prefrontal cortex function has traditionally been associated with explicit executive function. Recently, however, evidence has been presented that lateral prefrontal cortex is also involved in high-level cognitive processes such as task set selection or inhibition in the absence of awareness. Here, we [...] Read more.
Prefrontal cortex function has traditionally been associated with explicit executive function. Recently, however, evidence has been presented that lateral prefrontal cortex is also involved in high-level cognitive processes such as task set selection or inhibition in the absence of awareness. Here, we discuss evidence that not only lateral prefrontal cortex, but also rostral prefrontal cortex is involved in such kinds of implicit control processes. Specifically, rostral prefrontal cortex activation changes have been observed when implicitly learned spatial contingencies in a search display become invalid, requiring a change of attentional settings for optimal guidance of visual search. Full article
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Open AccessReview Behavior in Oblivion: The Neurobiology of Subliminal Priming
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 225-241; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020225
Received: 22 March 2012 / Revised: 9 May 2012 / Accepted: 16 May 2012 / Published: 29 May 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (443 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Subliminal priming refers to behavioral modulation by an unconscious stimulus, and can thus be regarded as a form of unconscious visual processing. Theories on recurrent processing have suggested that the neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) comprises of the non-hierarchical transfer of stimulus-related [...] Read more.
Subliminal priming refers to behavioral modulation by an unconscious stimulus, and can thus be regarded as a form of unconscious visual processing. Theories on recurrent processing have suggested that the neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) comprises of the non-hierarchical transfer of stimulus-related information. According to these models, the neural correlate of subliminal priming (NCSP) corresponds to the visual processing within the feedforward sweep. Research from cognitive neuroscience on these two concepts and the relationship between them is discussed here. Evidence favoring the necessity of recurrent connectivity for visual awareness is accumulating, although some questions, such as the need for global versus local recurrent processing, are not clarified yet. However, this is not to say that recurrent processing is sufficient for consciousness, as a neural definition of consciousness in terms of recurrent connectivity would imply. We argue that the limited interest cognitive neuroscience currently has for the NCSP is undeserved, because the discovery of the NCSP can give insight into why people do (and do not) express certain behavior. Full article
Open AccessReview The “Id” Knows More than the “Ego” Admits: Neuropsychoanalytic and Primal Consciousness Perspectives on the Interface Between Affective and Cognitive Neuroscience
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 147-175; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020147
Received: 16 January 2012 / Revised: 2 March 2012 / Accepted: 22 March 2012 / Published: 17 April 2012
Cited by 46 | PDF Full-text (1102 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is commonly believed that consciousness is a higher brain function. Here we consider the likelihood, based on abundant neuroevolutionary data that lower brain affective phenomenal experiences provide the “energy” for the developmental construction of higher forms of cognitive consciousness. This view [...] Read more.
It is commonly believed that consciousness is a higher brain function. Here we consider the likelihood, based on abundant neuroevolutionary data that lower brain affective phenomenal experiences provide the “energy” for the developmental construction of higher forms of cognitive consciousness. This view is concordant with many of the theoretical formulations of Sigmund Freud. In this reconceptualization, all of consciousness may be dependent on the original evolution of affective phenomenal experiences that coded survival values. These subcortical energies provided a foundation that could be used for the epigenetic construction of perceptual and other higher forms of consciousness. From this perspective, perceptual experiences were initially affective at the primary-process brainstem level, but capable of being elaborated by secondary learning and memory processes into tertiary-cognitive forms of consciousness. Within this view, although all individual neural activities are unconscious, perhaps along with secondary-process learning and memory mechanisms, the primal sub-neocortical networks of emotions and other primal affects may have served as the sentient scaffolding for the construction of resolved perceptual and higher mental activities within the neocortex. The data supporting this neuro-psycho-evolutionary vision of the emergence of mind is discussed in relation to classical psychoanalytical models. Full article
Open AccessReview Unconscious Effects of Action on Perception
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 130-146; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020130
Received: 19 December 2011 / Revised: 3 April 2012 / Accepted: 9 April 2012 / Published: 16 April 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (407 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We spend much of our life predicting the future. This involves developing theories and making predictions about others’ intentions, goals and about the consequences of the actions we are observing. Adapting our actions and behaviours to the environment is required for achieving [...] Read more.
We spend much of our life predicting the future. This involves developing theories and making predictions about others’ intentions, goals and about the consequences of the actions we are observing. Adapting our actions and behaviours to the environment is required for achieving our goals, and to do this the motor system relies on input from sensory modalities. However, recent theories suggest that the link between motor and perceptual areas is bidirectional, and that predictions based on planned or intended actions can unconsciously influence and modify our perception. In the following review we describe current theories on the link between action and perception, and examine the ways in which the motor system can unconsciously alter our perception. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Remains of the Day in Dissociative Amnesia
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 101-129; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020101
Received: 18 January 2012 / Revised: 29 February 2012 / Accepted: 22 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (788 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Memory is not a unity, but is divided along a content axis and a time axis, respectively. Along the content dimension, five long-term memory systems are described, according to their hierarchical ontogenetic and phylogenetic organization. These memory systems are assumed to be [...] Read more.
Memory is not a unity, but is divided along a content axis and a time axis, respectively. Along the content dimension, five long-term memory systems are described, according to their hierarchical ontogenetic and phylogenetic organization. These memory systems are assumed to be accompanied by different levels of consciousness. While encoding is based on a hierarchical arrangement of memory systems from procedural to episodic-autobiographical memory, retrieval allows independence in the sense that no matter how information is encoded, it can be retrieved in any memory system. Thus, we illustrate the relations between various long-term memory systems by reviewing the spectrum of abnormalities in mnemonic processing that may arise in the dissociative amnesia—a condition that is usually characterized by a retrieval blockade of episodic-autobiographical memories and occurs in the context of psychological trauma, without evidence of brain damage on conventional structural imaging. Furthermore, we comment on the functions of implicit memories in guiding and even adaptively molding the behavior of patients with dissociative amnesia and preserving, in the absence of autonoetic consciousness, the so-called “internal coherence of life”. Full article
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Open AccessReview In the Blink of an Eye: Investigating the Role of Awareness in Fear Responding by Measuring the Latency of Startle Potentiation
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(1), 61-84; doi:10.3390/brainsci2010061
Received: 21 December 2011 / Revised: 31 January 2012 / Accepted: 7 February 2012 / Published: 16 February 2012
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Abstract
The latency of startle reflex potentiation may shed light on the aware and unaware processes underlying associative learning, especially associative fear learning. We review research suggesting that single-cue delay classical conditioning is independent of awareness of the contingency between the conditioned stimulus [...] Read more.
The latency of startle reflex potentiation may shed light on the aware and unaware processes underlying associative learning, especially associative fear learning. We review research suggesting that single-cue delay classical conditioning is independent of awareness of the contingency between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US). Moreover, we discuss research that argues that conditioning independent of awareness has not been proven. Subsequently, three studies from our lab are presented that have investigated the role of awareness in classical conditioning, by measuring the minimum latency from CS onset to observed changes in reflexive behavior. In sum, research using this method shows that startle is potentiated 30 to 100 ms after CS onset following delay conditioning. Following trace fear conditioning, startle is potentiated 1500 ms after CS presentation. These results indicate that the process underlying delay conditioned responding is independent of awareness, and that trace fear conditioned responding is dependent on awareness. Finally, this method of investigating the role of awareness is discussed and future research possibilities are proposed. Full article
Open AccessReview Why the Brain Knows More than We Do: Non-Conscious Representations and Their Role in the Construction of Conscious Experience
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(1), 1-21; doi:10.3390/brainsci2010001
Received: 16 November 2011 / Revised: 12 December 2011 / Accepted: 20 December 2011 / Published: 27 December 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scientific studies have shown that non-conscious stimuli and representations influence information processing during conscious experience. In the light of such evidence, questions about potential functional links between non-conscious brain representations and conscious experience arise. This article discusses neural model capable of explaining [...] Read more.
Scientific studies have shown that non-conscious stimuli and representations influence information processing during conscious experience. In the light of such evidence, questions about potential functional links between non-conscious brain representations and conscious experience arise. This article discusses neural model capable of explaining how statistical learning mechanisms in dedicated resonant circuits could generate specific temporal activity traces of non-conscious representations in the brain. How reentrant signaling, top-down matching, and statistical coincidence of such activity traces may lead to the progressive consolidation of temporal patterns that constitute the neural signatures of conscious experience in networks extending across large distances beyond functionally specialized brain regions is then explained. Full article
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