Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Roberta Vastano, Thierry Pozzo, Marcel Brass Previous studies suggest that the sense of agency (SoA), the feeling of control about one’s own actions and ensuing effects is also generated during action selection processes. We investigate whether the conflict at the action selection stage induced by a supraliminal stimulus, modulates an implicit measure of SoA, namely intentional binding. Furthermore, we were interested to investigate the influence of different types of stimulus-response compatibility on SoA. To this aim we compared the influence of an automatic imitation task and a stroop-like task on intentional binding. In both tasks participants performed congruent and incongruent fingers movements (key release) in response to an external stimulus. Their movements caused an effect and participants estimated the time between their action and the ensuing effect. We found a reduced intentional binding effect in incongruent compared to congruent conditions in both tasks. The results are discussed within the theoretical framework of the fluency of action.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Shu Imaizumi, Tomohisa Asai Time perception distorts across different phases of bodily movement. During motor execution, sensory feedback matching an internal sensorimotor prediction is perceived to last longer. The sensorimotor prediction also underlies sense of agency. We investigated association between subjective time and agency during voluntary action. Participants performed hand action while watching a video feedback of their hand with various delays to manipulate agency. The perceived duration and agency over the video feedback were judged. Minimal delay of the video feedback resulted in longer perceived duration than the actual duration and stronger agency, while substantial feedback delay resulted in shorter perceived duration and weaker agency. These fluctuations of perceived duration and agency were nullified by the feedback of other's hand instead of their own, but not by inverted feedback from a third-person perspective. Subjective time during action might be associated with agency stemming from sensorimotor prediction, and self-other distinction based on bodily appearance.
Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition Author(s): Talia Losier, Christine Lefebvre, Mattia Doro, Roberto Dell'Acqua, Pierre Jolicœur The attentional blink (AB) is a difficulty in correctly processing a target when it follows one or more other targets after a short delay. When no backward mask is presented after the last critical target, there is no or little behavioral AB deficit. The mask plays an important role in limiting conscious access to target information. In this electrophysiological study, we tested the impact of masking on the deployment and engagement of attention by measuring the N2pc and P3 components in an RSVP paradigm. We found that the presence of a mask in an AB paradigm reduced the amplitude of the N2pc, P3a, and P3b components. In addition to reducing encoding in memory, masking also reduced the effectiveness of the deployment and engagement of attention on the last target. We discuss the role of these findings in the context of current masking, consciousness, and AB models.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Natalia Macrynikola, Shama Goklani, Julia Slotnick, Regina Miranda Although a positive future outlook is generally associated with psychological well-being, indulging in positive fantasies about the future has been found to exacerbate negative mood-related outcomes such as depressive symptoms. We examined rumination as a cognitive mechanism in this relationship, using an objectively coded measure of future-oriented fantasies, among 261 young adults assessed twice. Engaging in a positive fantasy about the future was associated with the brooding subtype of rumination but not with reflection at baseline. There was an indirect relationship between fantasies at baseline and depressive symptoms at six-week follow-up through brooding at average and high levels of fantasy positivity when fantasizing was consistent or increased over time but not when it decreased. Engaging in fantasies was indirectly associated with perceived difficulty anticipating likely positive future outcomes through brooding. These findings extend previous research on positive fantasies by suggesting brooding as a mechanism to explain when they are maladaptive.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Tomohisa Asai Though the computation of agency is thought to be based on prediction error, it is important for us to grasp our own reliability of that detected error. Here, the current study shows that we have a meta-monitoring ability over our own forward model, where the accuracy of motor prediction and therefore of the felt agency are implicitly evaluated. Healthy participants (N=105) conducted a simple motor control task and SELF or OTHER visual feedback was given. The relationship between the accuracy and confidence in a mismatch detection task and in a self-other attribution task was examined. The results suggest an accuracy-confidence correlation in both tasks, indicating our meta-monitoring ability over such decisions. Furthermore, a statistically identified group with low accuracy and low confidence was characterized as higher schizotypal people. Finally, what we can know about our own forward model and how we can know it is discussed.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Sebastian Korb, Sofia A. Osimo, Tiziano Suran, Ariel Goldstein, Raffaella Ida Rumiati An important question in neuroscience is which multisensory information, presented outside of awareness, can influence the nature and speed of conscious access to our percepts. Recently, proprioceptive feedback of the hand was reported to lead to faster awareness of congruent hand images in a breaking continuous flash suppression (b-CFS) paradigm. Moreover, a vast literature suggests that spontaneous facial mimicry can improve emotion recognition, even without awareness of the stimulus face. However, integration of visual and proprioceptive information about the face to date has not been tested with CFS. The modulation of visual awareness of emotional faces by facial proprioception was investigated across three separate experiments. Face proprioception was induced with voluntary facial expressions or with spontaneous facial mimicry. Frequentist statistical analyses were complemented with Bayesian statistics. No evidence of multisensory integration was found, suggesting that proprioception does not modulate access to visual awareness of emotional faces in a CFS paradigm.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Luca Simione, Elkan G. Akyürek, Valentina Vastola, Antonino Raffone, Howard Bowman We investigated the relationship between different kinds of target reports in a rapid serial visual presentation task, and their associated perceptual experience. Participants reported the identity of two targets embedded in a stream of stimuli and their associated subjective visibility. In our task, target stimuli could be combined together to form more complex ones, thus allowing participants to report temporally integrated percepts. We found that integrated percepts were associated with high subjective visibility scores, whereas reports in which the order of targets was reversed led to a poorer perceptual experience. We also found a reciprocal relationship between the chance of the second target not being reported correctly and the perceptual experience associated with the first one. Principally, our results indicate that integrated percepts are experienced as a unique, clear perceptual event, whereas order reversals are experienced as confused, similar to cases in which an entirely wrong response was given.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Cory J. Clark, Roy F. Baumeister, Peter H. Ditto Punishing wrongdoers is beneficial for group functioning, but can harm individual well-being. Building on research demonstrating that punitive motives underlie free will beliefs, we propose that free will beliefs help justify punitive impulses, thus alleviating the associated distress. In Study 1, trait-level punitiveness predicted heightened levels of anxiety only for free will skeptics. Study 2 found that higher state-level incarceration rates predicted higher mental health issue rates, only in states with citizens relatively skeptical about free will. In Study 3, participants who punished an unfair partner experienced greater distress than non-punishers, only when their partner did not have free choice. Studies 4 and 5 confirmed experimentally that punitive desires led to greater anxiety only when free will beliefs were undermined by an anti-free will argument. These results suggest that believing in free will permits holding immoral actors morally responsible, thus justifying punishment with diminished negative psychological consequences for punishers.
Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition Author(s): Georg Northoff Consciousness research has much focused on faster frequencies like alpha or gamma while neglecting the slower ones in the infraslow (0.001–0.1Hz) and slow (0.1–1Hz) frequency range. These slower frequency ranges have a “bad reputation” though; their increase in power can observed during the loss of consciousness as in sleep, anesthesia, and vegetative state. However, at the same time, slower frequencies have been conceived instrumental for consciousness. The present paper aims to resolve this paradox which I describe as “paradox of slow frequencies”. I first show various data that suggest a central role of slower frequencies in integrating faster ones, i.e., “temporo-spatial integration and nestedness”. Such “temporo-spatial integration and nestedness” is disrupted during the loss of consciousness as in anesthesia and sleep leading to “temporo-spatial fragmentation and isolation” between slow and fast frequencies. Slow frequencies are supposedly mediated by neural activity in upper cortical layers in higher-order associative regions as distinguished from lower cortical layers that are related to faster frequencies. Taken together, slower and faster frequencies take on different roles for the level/state of consciousness. Faster frequencies by themselves are sufficient and thus a neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) while slower frequencies are a necessary non-sufficient condition of possible consciousness, e.g., a neural predisposition of the level/state of consciousness (NPC). This resolves the “paradox of slow frequencies” in that it assigns different roles to slower and faster frequencies in consciousness, i.e., NCC and NPC. Taken as NCC and NPC, fast and slow frequencies including their relation as in “temporo-spatial integration and nestedness” can be considered a first “building bloc” of a future “temporo-spatial theory of consciousness” (TTC) (Northoff, 2013; Northoff, 2014b; Northoff & Huang, 2017).
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Paul Seli, Brandon C.W. Ralph, Mahiko Konishi, Daniel Smilek, Daniel L. Schacter It has recently been argued that researchers should distinguish between mind wandering (MW) that is engaged with and without intention. Supporting this argument, studies have found that intentional and unintentional MW have behavioral/neural differences, and that they are differentially associated with certain variables of theoretical interest. Although there have been considerable inroads made into the distinction between intentional/unintentional MW, possible differences in their content remain unexplored. To determine whether these two types of MW differ in content, we had participants complete a task during which they categorized their MW as intentional or unintentional, and then provided responses to questions about the content of their MW. Results indicated that intentional MW was more frequently rated as being future-oriented and less vague than unintentional MW. These findings shed light on the nature of intentional and unintentional MW and provide support for the argument that researchers should distinguish between intentional and unintentional types.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Mengran Xu, Christine Purdon, Paul Seli, Daniel Smilek Mind wandering can be costly, especially when we are engaged in attentionally demanding tasks. Preliminary studies suggest that mindfulness can be a promising antidote for mind wandering, albeit the evidence is mixed. To better understand the exact impact of mindfulness on mind wandering, we had a sample of highly anxious undergraduate students complete a sustained-attention task during which off-task thoughts including mind wandering were assessed. Participants were randomly assigned to a meditation or control condition, after which the sustained-attention task was repeated. In general, our results indicate that mindfulness training may only have protective effects on mind wandering for anxious individuals. Meditation prevented the increase of mind wandering over time and ameliorated performance disruption during off-task episodes. In addition, we found that the meditation intervention appeared to promote a switch of attentional focus from the internal to present-moment external world, suggesting important implications for treating worrying in anxious populations.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Gabriel D. Saenz, Lisa Geraci, Tyler M. Miller, Robert Tirso Students are overconfident when making grade predictions, and worse, the lowest-performing students are generally the most overconfident. Because metacognitive accuracy is associated with academic performance, multiple studies have attempted to improve metacognitive accuracy with mixed results. However, these studies may be of limited use because we do not understand the types of information university students use to make performance predictions. The current studies examined the possibility that university students’ predictions are associated with their desires—the grade they want to receive. Studies 1–4 demonstrated that students’ desired grades were strongly associated with their grade predictions across different courses, universities, and measurement strategies. Study 4 also showed that, if warned about the previous results, students could reduce their reliance on their desired grades and improve the accuracy of their predictions relative to control. Together, results demonstrated that students’ exam predictions are associated with their desired grades.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Yanmei Tang, Liuna Geng, P. Wesley Schultz, Kexin Zhou, Peng Xiang This current article explores the differential effects of mindful learning on pro-environmental behavior from the perspective of self-expansion. A total of 253 participants were recruited for four experiments. In Study 1, the mindful-learning group reported greater levels of pro-environmental behavioral intentions compared to a randomized control. In Study 2, we utilized different learning materials focusing on self, humans, or the biosphere in three sub-experiments. Study 2a manipulated mindsets by a self-related focus and revealed participants in a mindfulness condition had lower pro-environmental behavioral intentions than those in the mindlessness group. Study 2b centered on “humans” and results showed that participants in a mindfulness group reported higher levels of pro-environmental behavioral intentions. Finally, Study 2c induced mindsets with a biospheric focus, showing participants in the mindful-learning condition had greater pro-environmental behavioral intentions. Combined, the studies provide empirical evidence that mindful learning could influence self-reported pro-environmental behavioral intentions both positively and negatively.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): John Turri Compatibilism is the view that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism. Natural compatibilism is the view that in ordinary social cognition, people are compatibilists. Researchers have recently debated whether natural compatibilism is true. This paper presents six experiments (N=909) that advance this debate. The results provide the best evidence to date for natural compatibilism, avoiding the main methodological problems faced by previous work supporting the view. In response to simple scenarios about familiar activities, people judged that agents had moral responsibilities to perform actions that they were unable to perform (Experiment 1), were morally responsible for unavoidable outcomes (Experiment 2), were to blame for unavoidable outcomes (Experiments 3–4), deserved blame for unavoidable outcomes (Experiment 5), and should suffer consequences for unavoidable outcomes (Experiment 6). These findings advance our understanding of moral psychology and philosophical debates that depend partly on patterns in commonsense morality.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Jonne O. Hietanen, Jari K. Hietanen The effect of eye contact on self-awareness was investigated with implicit measures based on the use of first-person singular pronouns in sentences. The measures were proposed to tap into self-referential processing, that is, information processing associated with self-awareness. In addition, participants filled in a questionnaire measuring explicit self-awareness. In Experiment 1, the stimulus was a video clip showing another person and, in Experiment 2, the stimulus was a live person. In both experiments, participants were divided into two groups and presented with the stimulus person either making eye contact or gazing downward, depending on the group assignment. During the task, the gaze stimulus was presented before each trial of the pronoun-selection task. Eye contact was found to increase the use of first-person pronouns, but only when participants were facing a real person, not when they were looking at a video of a person. No difference in self-reported self-awareness was found between the two gaze direction groups in either experiment. The results indicate that eye contact elicits self-referential processing, but the effect may be stronger, or possibly limited to, live interaction.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Lauren E. Moore, Bruce Greyson Near-death experiences are vivid, life-changing experiences occurring to people who come close to death. Because some of their features, such as enhanced cognition despite compromised brain function, challenge our understanding of the mind-brain relationship, the question arises whether near-death experiences are imagined rather than real events. We administered the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire to 122 survivors of a close brush with death who reported near-death experiences. Participants completed Memory Characteristics Questionnaires for three different memories: that of their near-death experience, that of a real event around the same time, and that of an event they had imagined around the same time. The Memory Characteristics Questionnaire score was higher for the memory of the near-death experience than for that of the real event, which in turn was higher than that of the imagined event. These data suggest that memories of near-death experiences are recalled as “realer” than real events or imagined events.
Abstract: Publication date: April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 50 Author(s): Anneli Jefferson, Lisa Bortolotti, Bojana Kuzmanovic Here we consider the nature of unrealistic optimism and other related positive illusions. We are interested in whether cognitive states that are unrealistically optimistic are belief states, whether they are false, and whether they are epistemically irrational. We also ask to what extent unrealistically optimistic cognitive states are fixed. Based on the classic and recent empirical literature on unrealistic optimism, we offer some preliminary answers to these questions, thereby laying the foundations for answering further questions about unrealistic optimism, such as whether it has biological, psychological, or epistemic benefits.
Abstract: Publication date: April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 50 Author(s): Neil Garrett, Tali Sharot A diverse body of research has demonstrated that people update their beliefs to a greater extent when receiving good news compared to bad news. Recently, a paper by Shah et al. claimed that this asymmetry does not exist. Here we carefully examine the experiments and simulations described in Shah et al. and follow their analytic approach on our data sets. After correcting for confounds we identify in the experiments of Shah et al., an optimistic update bias for positive life events is revealed. Contrary to claims made by Shah et al., we observe that participants update their beliefs in a more Bayesian manner after receiving good news than bad. Finally, we show that the parameters Shah et al. pre-selected for simulations are at odds with participants’ data, making these simulations irrelevant to the question asked. Together this report makes a strong case for a true optimistic asymmetry in belief updating.
Abstract: Publication date: April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 50 Author(s): Leslie van der Leer, Ryan McKay The nature and existence of self-deception is controversial. On a classic conception, self-deceived individuals carry two conflicting representations of reality. Proponents of an alternative, deflationary account dispute this, arguing that putative cases of self-deception simply reflect distorted information processing. To investigate these alternatives, we adapted a paradigm from the “crowd-within” literature. Participants provided two different estimates for each of a series of incentivized questions. Half of the questions were neutral in content, while half referred to undesirable future events. Whereas the first and second estimates for neutral questions did not differ systematically, second estimates for undesirable questions were more optimistic than first estimates. This result suggests that participants were sampling selectively from an internal probability distribution when providing estimates for undesirable events, implying they had access to a less rosy representation of their future prospects than their individual estimates conveyed. In short, self-deception is real.
Abstract: Publication date: April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 50 Author(s): Adam J.L. Harris Claims that optimism is a near-universal characteristic of human judgment seem to be at odds with recent results from the judgment and decision making literature suggesting that the likelihood of negative outcomes are overestimated relative to neutral outcomes. In an attempt to reconcile these seemingly contrasting phenomena, inspiration is drawn from the attention literature in which there is evidence that both positive and negative stimuli can have attentional privilege relative to neutral stimuli. This result provides a framework within which I consider three example phenomena that purport to demonstrate that people’s likelihood estimates are optimistic: Wishful thinking; Unrealistic comparative optimism and Asymmetric belief updating. The framework clarifies the relationships between these phenomena and stimulates future research questions. Generally, whilst results from the first two phenomena appear reconcilable in this conceptualisation, further research is required in reconciling the third.
Abstract: Publication date: April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 50 Author(s): Vera Hoorens, Carolien Van Damme, Marie Helweg-Larsen, Constantine Sedikides According to the hubris hypothesis, observers respond more unfavorably to individuals who express their positive self-views comparatively than to those who express their positive self-views non-comparatively, because observers infer that the former hold a more disparaging view of others and particularly of observers. Two experiments extended the hubris hypothesis in the domain of optimism. Observers attributed less warmth (but not less competence) to, and showed less interest in affiliating with, an individual displaying comparative optimism (the belief that one’s future will be better than others’ future) than with an individual displaying absolute optimism (the belief that one’s future will be good). Observers responded differently to individuals displaying comparative versus absolute optimism, because they inferred that the former held a gloomier view of the observers’ future. Consistent with previous research, observers still attributed more positive traits to a comparative or absolute optimist than to a comparative or absolute pessimist.
Abstract: Publication date: April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 50 Author(s): Fernando Blanco The human cognitive system is fine-tuned to detect patterns in the environment with the aim of predicting important outcomes and, eventually, to optimize behavior. Built under the logic of the least-costly mistake, this system has evolved biases to not overlook any meaningful pattern, even if this means that some false alarms will occur, as in the case of when we detect a causal link between two events that are actually unrelated (i.e., a causal illusion). In this review, we examine the positive and negative implications of causal illusions, emphasizing emotional aspects (i.e., causal illusions are negatively associated with negative mood and depression) and practical, health-related issues (i.e., causal illusions might underlie pseudoscientific beliefs, leading to dangerous decisions). Finally, we describe several ways to obtain control over causal illusions, so that we could be able to produce them when they are beneficial and avoid them when they are harmful.
Abstract: Publication date: April 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 50 Author(s): James A. Shepperd, Gabrielle Pogge, Jennifer L. Howell Of the hundreds of studies published on unrealistic optimism (i.e., expecting a better personal future than is reasonably likely), most have focused on demonstrating the phenomenon, examining boundary conditions, or documenting causes. Few studies have examined the consequences of unrealistic optimism. In this article, we provide an overview of the measurement of unrealistic optimism, review possible consequences, and identify numerous challenges confronting investigators attempting to understand the consequences. Assessing the consequences of unrealistic optimism is tricky, and ultimately probably impossible when researchers assess unrealistic optimism at the group level (which reveals if a group of people is displaying unrealistic optimism on average) rather than the individual level (which reveals whether a specific individual displays unrealistic optimism). We offer recommendations to researchers who wish to examine the consequences of unrealistic optimism.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Michael F. Wagner, John J. Skowronski Two studies assessed the extent to which people incorporated false facts provided by bogus others into their own recognition memory reports, and how these false memory reports were affected by: (a) truth of the information in others’ summaries supporting the false facts, (b) motivation to process stories and summaries, (c) source credibility, and (d) ease of remembering original facts. False memory report frequency increased when false facts in a summary were supported by true information and varied inversely with the ease with which original facts could be remembered. Results from a measure probing participants’ memory perceptions suggest that some false memories are authentic: People sometimes lack awareness of both the incorporation of false facts into their memory reports and where the false facts came from. However, many false memories are inauthentic: Despite reporting a false memory, people sometimes retain knowledge of the original stimulus and/or the origin of false facts.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Rita R. Silva, Teresa Garcia-Marques, Rolf Reber We contrast the effects of conceptual and perceptual fluency resulting from repetition in the truth effect. In Experiment 1, participants judged either verbatim or paraphrased repetitions, which reduce perceptual similarity to original statements. Judgments were made either immediately after the first exposure to the statements or after one week. Illusions of truth emerged for both types of repetition, with delay reducing both effects. In Experiment 2, participants judged verbatim and paraphrased repetitions with either the same or a contradictory meaning of original statements. In immediate judgments, illusions of truth emerged for repetitions with the same meaning and illusions of falseness for contradictory repetitions. In the delayed session, the illusion of falseness disappeared for contradictory statements. Results are discussed in terms of the contributions of recollection of stimulus details and of perceptual and conceptual fluency to illusions of truth at different time intervals and judgmental context conditions.
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Sara O'Donnell, Tinuke Oluyomi Daniel, Leonard H. Epstein Delay discounting (DD) is the preference for smaller immediate rewards over larger delayed rewards. Research shows episodic future thinking (EFT), or mentally simulating future experiences, reframes the choice between small immediate and larger delayed rewards, and can reduce DD. Only general EFT has been studied, whereby people reframe decisions in terms of non-goal related future events. Since future thinking is often goal-oriented and leads to greater activation of brain regions involved in prospection, goal-oriented EFT may be associated with greater reductions in DD than general goal-unrelated EFT. The present study (n =104, M age =22.25, SD=3.42; 50% Female) used a between-subjects 2×2 factorial design with type of episodic thinking (Goal, General) and temporal perspective (Episodic future versus recent thinking; EFT vs ERT) as between factors. Results showed a significant reduction in DD for EFT groups (p<0.001, Cohen’s d effect size=0.89), and goal-EFT was more effective than general-EFT on reducing DD (p=0.03, d =0.64).
Abstract: Publication date: May 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 51 Author(s): Stephen Gadsby In this paper, I discuss empirical evidence regarding anorexic patients’ distorted body representations. I fit this evidence into a broader framework for understanding how the spatial content of the body is tracked and represented. This framework is motivated by O’Shaughnessy’s (1980) long-term body image hypothesis. This hypothesis posits a representation that tracks changes in the spatial content of the body and supplies this content to other body representations. I argue that a similar kind of body representation might exist and, in the case of anorexia, be distorted. Finally, I suggest that this body representation might become distorted through influence by affect.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Tomáš Dominik, Daniel Dostál, Martin Zielina, Jan Šmahaj, Zuzana Sedláčková, Roman Procházka The time of subjectively registered urge to move (W) constituted the central point of most Libet-style experiments. It is therefore crucial to verify the W validity. Our experiment was based on the assumption that the W time is inferred, rather than introspectively perceived. We used the rotating spot method to gather the W reports together with the reports of the subjective timing of actual movement (M). The subjects were assigned the tasks in two different orders. When measured as first in the respective session, no significant difference between W and M values was found, which suggests that uninformed subjects tend to confuse W for M reports. Moreover, we found that W values measured after the M task were significantly earlier than W values measured before M. This phenomenon suggests that the apparent difference between W and M values is in fact caused by the subjects’ previous experience with M measurements. Graphical abstract
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Lisa M. Fitzgerald, Mahnaz Arvaneh, Paul M. Dockree Metacognition and self-awareness are commonly assumed to operate as global capacities. However, there have been few attempts to test this assumption across multiple cognitive domains and metacognitive evaluations. Here, we assessed the covariance between “online” metacognitive processes, as measured by decision confidence judgments in the domains of perception and memory, and error awareness in the domain of attention to action. Previous research investigating metacognition across task domains have not matched stimulus characteristics across tasks raising the possibility that any differences in metacognitive accuracy may be influenced by local task properties. The current experiment measured metacognition in perceptual, memorial and attention tasks that were closely matched for stimulus characteristics. We found that metacognitive accuracy across the three tasks was dissociated suggesting that domain specific networks support an individual’s capacity for accurate metacognition. This finding was independent of objective performance, which was controlled using a staircase procedure. However, response times for metacognitive judgments and error awareness were associated suggesting that shared mechanisms determining how these meta-level evaluations unfold in time may underlie these different types of decision. In addition, the relationship between these laboratory measures of metacognition and reports of everyday functioning from participants and their significant others (informants) was investigated. We found that informant reports, but not self reports, predicted metacognitive accuracy on the perceptual task and participants who underreported cognitive difficulties relative to their informants also showed poorer metacognitive accuracy on the perceptual task. These results are discussed in the context of models of metacognitive regulation and neuropsychological evidence for dissociable metacognitive systems. The potential for the refinement of metacognitive assessment in clinical populations is also discussed.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): András Költő, Vince Polito Changes in the sense of agency are defining feature of hypnosis. The Sense of Agency Rating Scale (SOARS) is a 10-item questionnaire, administered after a hypnosis session to assess alteration in the sense of agency. In the present study, a Hungarian version of the measure (SOARS-HU) is presented. The SOARS-HU and the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI) were administered to 197 subjects following hypnotizability screening with the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form A (HGSHS:A). Confirmatory factor analysis and correlations with hypnotizability demonstrate the reliability and validity of the SOARS-HU. Changes in the Involuntariness and Effortlessness subscales of the SOARS-HU were associated with alterations in subjective conscious experience, as measured by the PCI. These changes in subjective experience remained significant after controlling for HGSHS:A scores. These results indicate that changes in the sense of agency during hypnosis are associated with alterations of consciousness that are independent of hypnotizability.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Frederick Travis, Niyazi Parim, Amrita Shrivastava This study compared subjective experiences and EEG patterns in 37 subjects when listening to live Vedic recitation and when practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM). Content analysis of experiences when listening to Vedic recitation yielded three higher-order code. Experiences during Vedic recitation were: (1) deeper than during TM practice; (2) experienced as an inner process; and (3) characterized by lively silence. EEG patterns support these higher-order codes. Theta2 and alpha1 frontal, parietal, and frontal-parietal coherence were significantly higher when listening to Vedic recitation, than during TM practice. Theta2 coherence is seen when attending to internal mental processes. Higher theta2 coherence supports subjects’ descriptions that the Vedic recitations were “not external sounds but internal vibrations.” Alpha1 coherence is reported during pure consciousness experiences during TM practice. Higher alpha1 coherence supports subjects’ descriptions that they “experienced a depth of experience, rarely experienced even during deep TM practice.” These data support the utility of listening to Vedic recitation to culture deep inner experiences.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Rachel J. Anderson, Stephen A. Dewhurst, Graham M. Dean Two experiments used a dual task methodology to investigate the role of visual imagery and executive resources in the retrieval of specific autobiographical memories. In Experiment 1, dynamic visual noise led to a reduction in the number of specific memories retrieved in response to both high and low imageability cues, but did not affect retrieval times. In Experiment 2, irrelevant pictures reduced the number of specific memories but only in response to low imageability cues. Irrelevant pictures also increased response times to both high and low imageability cues. The findings are in line with previous work suggesting that disrupting executive resources may impair generative, but not direct, retrieval of autobiographical memories. In contrast, visual distractor tasks appear to impair access to specific autobiographical memories via both the direct and generative retrieval routes, thereby highlighting the potential role of visual imagery in both pathways.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Ausiàs Cebolla, Daniel Campos, Laura Galiana, Amparo Oliver, Jose Manuel Tomás, Albert Feliu-Soler, Joaquim Soler, Javier García-Campayo, Marcelo Demarzo, Rosa María Baños Several meditation practices are associated with mindfulness-based interventions but little is known about their specific effects on the development of different mindfulness facets. This study aimed to assess the relations among different practice variables, types of meditation, and mindfulness facets. The final sample was composed of 185 participants who completed an on-line survey, including information on the frequency and duration of each meditation practice, lifetime practice, and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. A Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes structural model was specified, estimated, and tested. Results showed that the Model’s overall fit was adequate: χ 2 (1045)=1542.800 (p <0.001), CFI=0.902, RMSEA=0.042. Results revealed that mindfulness facets were uniquely related to the different variables and types of meditation. Our findings showed the importance of specific practices in promoting mindfulness, compared to compassion and informal practices, and they pointed out which one fits each mindfulness facet better.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Katherine C. Moen, Jeremy K. Miller, Marianne E. Lloyd Previous research on the effects of Divided Attention on recognition memory have shown consistent impairments during encoding but more variable effects at retrieval. The present study explored whether effects of Selective Attention at retrieval and subsequent testing were parallel to those of Divided Attention. Participants studied a list of pictures and then had a recognition memory test that included both full attention and selective attention (the to be responded to object was overlaid atop a blue outlined object) trials. All participants then completed a second recognition memory test. The results of 2 experiments suggest that subsequent tests consistently show impacts of the status of the ignored stimulus, and that having an initial test changes performance on a later test. The results are discussed in relation to effect of attention on memory more generally as well as spontaneous recognition memory research.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Ali Mair, Marie Poirier, Martin A. Conway This study measured the effect of a wearable camera, SenseCam, on older and younger adults’ memories of recently experienced everyday events. Participants used SenseCam to prospectively sample events from a typical week, which they recalled two weeks later. Recall was cued by a self-generated title only (control condition), by the title and forward-order SenseCam images, or by the title and random-order SenseCam images. In the control condition, older and younger adults’ memories were comparably episodic, but older adults recalled more semantic details. Both forward- and random-order SenseCam images were associated with increased episodic and semantic recall in both groups, and there was a small but significant effect of temporal order favouring the forward-order condition. These findings suggest that SenseCam is effective in supporting retrieval of memory for recent events, and the results of the temporal order manipulation also shed light on the mechanism of SenseCam’s effect.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Dirk Wentura, Michaela Rohr, Juliane Degner We demonstrate non-conscious processing beyond valence by employing the masked emotional priming paradigm (Rohr, Degner, & Wentura, 2012) with a stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) variation. Emotional faces were briefly presented and directly masked, followed by the target face, using a SOA of either 43ms or 143ms. Targets were categorized as happy, angry, fearful, or sad. With short SOA, we replicated the differentiated priming effect within the negative domain (i.e., angry differentiate from fearful/sad). A direct test of prime awareness indicated that primes could not be discriminated consciously in this condition. With long SOA, however, we did not observe the priming effect whereas the direct test indicated some degree of conscious processing. Thus, indirect effects dissociated from direct effects in our study, an indication for non-conscious processing. Thereby, the present study provides evidence for non-conscious processing of emotional information beyond a simple positive-negative differentiation.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Xavier Noël, Mélanie Saeremans, Charles Kornreich, Nematollah Jaafari, Arnaud D'Argembeau This study investigated the ability of individuals with disordered gambling to imagine future events. Problem gamblers (n=35) and control participants (n=35) were asked to imagine positive and negative future events for three temporal distances (one week, one year, 5–10years). Then, a variety of phenomenological aspects of their future thoughts (e.g., sensory and contextual details, autonoetic consciousness) were rated. Compared to control subjects, problem gamblers generated fewer positive and negative events across all temporal distances, an impairment that was correlated to verbal fluency scores. Furthermore, problem gamblers rated imagined events as containing fewer sensory and contextual details, and lacking autonoetic consciousness. These findings demonstrate that problem gambling is associated with a reduced future-oriented mental time travel ability and, in particular, with diminished autonoetic consciousness when imagining future events.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Eugenia Kulakova, Nima Khalighinejad, Patrick Haggard Personal control and agency are closely associated with the counterfactual notion that a person could have done otherwise (CDO). In both philosophy and law, this counterfactual evaluation determines responsibility and punishment, yet little is known about its influence on agents’ experience during action. We used a risky decision-making task to study how counterfactual evaluations influenced participants’ sense of agency. Two factors were manipulated independently: the presence/absence of counterfactual comparisons between actions and the presence/absence of counterfactual comparisons between outcomes of these actions. Perceived agency was highest when both counterfactual comparisons were available. Interestingly, this pattern persisted even when counterfactual information was only revealed after action, suggesting a purely reconstructive evaluation effect. These findings allow a more precise phrasing of the CDO element of personal agency: a person feels most control when she could have performed another action, thereby obtaining another outcome.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Allyson Dale, Alexandre Lafrenière, Joseph De Koninck The present study was a first look at the ontogenetic pattern of dream content across the lifespan for men. The participants included 50 Canadian men in each of 5 age groups, from adolescence to old age including 12–17, 18–24, 25–39, 40–64, and 65–85. The last age group included 31 participants, totaling 231 males. One dream per participant was scored by two independent judges using content analysis. Trend analysis was used to determine the lifespan-developmental pattern of the dream content categories. Results demonstrated a predominance of aggressive dream imagery in the adolescent age group in line with social-developmental research. These patterns of dream imagery reflect the waking developmental patterns as proposed by social theories and recognized features of aging. Limitations and suggestions for future research, including the examining of the developmental pattern of gender differences across the lifespan, are discussed.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Burcu Demiray, Alexandra M. Freund Three studies examined the self-enhancement function of autobiographical memory (measured with subjective temporal distance of memories). Participants recalled a memory of an attained and a failed goal and rated the subjective distance between each memory and the present. Study 1 showed that young adults with higher self-esteem felt closer to memories of attained goals and farther from failure memories than those with lower self-esteem. In Study 2, young, middle-aged and older adults with higher self-esteem felt closer to success memories, whereas self-esteem was unrelated to the temporal distance of failure memories. In both studies, feeling closer to success memories (and far from failure) led to enhanced mood. In Study 3, state self-esteem was experimentally manipulated. The manipulation had no effect on young and older adults, but middle-aged adults whose self-esteem was decreased, felt closer to success memories than failure memories. Results are discussed in relation to the temporal self-appraisal theory.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Mikaël Bastian, Sébastien Lerique, Vincent Adam, Michael S. Franklin, Jonathan W. Schooler, Jérôme Sackur Introspection and language are the cognitive prides of humankind, but their interactions in healthy cognition remain unclear. Episodes of mind-wandering, where personal thoughts often go unnoticed for some time before being introspected, offer a unique opportunity to study the role of language in introspection. In this paper, we show that inner speech facilitates awareness of mind-wandering. In two experiments, we either interfered with verbal working memory, via articulatory suppression (Exp. 1), or entrained it, via presentation of verbal material (Exp. 2), and measured the resulting awareness of mind-wandering. Articulatory suppression decreased the likelihood to spontaneously notice mind-wandering, whereas verbal material increased retrospective awareness of mind-wandering. In addition, an ecological study using smartphones confirmed that inner speech vividness positively predicted mind-wandering awareness (Exp. 3). Together, these findings support the view that inner speech facilitates introspection of one’s thoughts, and therefore provides empirical evidence for a positive relation between language and consciousness.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Ben Alderson-Day, Marco Bernini, Charles Fernyhough Readers often describe vivid experiences of voices and characters in a manner that has been likened to hallucination. Little is known, however, of how common such experiences are, nor the individual differences they may reflect. Here we present the results of a 2014 survey conducted in collaboration with a national UK newspaper and an international book festival. Participants (n =1566) completed measures of reading imagery, inner speech, and hallucination-proneness, including 413 participants who provided detailed free-text descriptions of their reading experiences. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that reading imagery was related to phenomenological characteristics of inner speech and proneness to hallucination-like experiences. However, qualitative analysis of reader’s accounts suggested that vivid reading experiences were marked not just by auditory phenomenology, but also their tendency to cross over into non-reading contexts. This supports social-cognitive accounts of reading while highlighting a role for involuntary and uncontrolled personality models in the experience of fictional characters.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Mohamad El Haj, Pascal Antoine This paper investigated whether Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients may demonstrate a discrepancy between subjective autobiographical reliving and objective recall. To this end, 31 AD patients and 35 controls were asked to retrieve three autobiographical memories. For each memory, participants were asked to rate its subjective characteristics (e.g., reliving, travel in time, visual imagery…). Besides this subjective assessment, we analyzed recall objectively with regard to specificity. Results showed poorer subjective autobiographical reliving and objective recall in AD patients than in controls. A discrepancy (i.e., higher level of subjective reliving than of objective recall) was observed in AD but not in control participants. Despite a compromise in their objective recall, AD patients seemed to attribute a high value to their subjective autobiographical experience. This discrepancy can be attributed to a potential genuine consciousness experience in which mild AD patients can, to some extent, experience some subjective features of the past.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Joshua Moreton, Mitchell J. Callan, Gethin Hughes Temporal binding refers to the compression of the perceived time interval between voluntary actions and their sensory consequences. Research suggests that the emotional content of an action outcome can modulate the effects of temporal binding. We attempted to conceptually replicate these findings using a time interval estimation task and different emotionally-valenced action outcomes (Experiments 1 and 2) than used in previous research. Contrary to previous findings, we found no evidence that temporal binding was affected by the emotional valence of action outcomes. After validating our stimuli for equivalence of perceived emotional valence and arousal (Experiment 3), in Experiment 4 we directly replicated Yoshie and Haggard’s (2013) original experiment using sound vocalizations as action outcomes and failed to detect a significant effect of emotion on temporal binding. These studies suggest that the emotional valence of action outcomes exerts little influence on temporal binding. The potential implications of these findings are discussed.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Martina Wernicke, Corinna Hofter, Kirsten Jordan, Peter Fromberger, Peter Dechent, Jürgen L. Müller In the context of forensic psychiatry, it is crucial that diagnoses of deviant sexual interests are resistant to manipulation. In a first attempt to promote the development of such tools, the current fMRI study focusses on the examination of hemodynamic responses to preferred, in contrast to non-preferred, sexual stimuli with and without explicit sexual features in 24 healthy heterosexual subjects. The subliminal stimulus presentation of sexual stimuli could be a new approach to reduce vulnerability to manipulation. Meaningful images and scrambled images were applied as masks. Recognition performance was low, but interestingly, sexual preference and explicitness modulated stimulus visibility, suggesting interactions between networks of sexual arousal and consciousness. With scrambled masks, higher activations for sexually preferred images and for explicit images were found in areas associated with sexual arousal (Stoleru, Fonteille, Cornelis, Joyal, & Moulier, 2012). We conclude that masked sexual stimuli can evoke activations in areas associated with supraliminal induced sexual arousal. Graphical abstract
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Devpriya Kumar, Narayanan Srinivasan Control exercised by humans through interactions with the environment is critical for sense of agency. Here, we investigate how control at multiple levels influence implicit sense of agency measured using intentional binding. Participants are asked to hit a moving target using a joystick with noisy control followed by an intentional binding task initiated by the target hitting action. Perceptual-motor level control was manipulated through noise in the joystick controller (experiment 1) and goal-level control in terms of feedback about successful hit (experiments 2a and 2b). In the first experiment, intentional binding increased with amount of joystick control only when goal was not achieved and independent otherwise suggesting that the two levels interact hierarchically. In the second experiment, the estimated duration was dependent on when participants knew about goal completion. The results are similar to those obtained with explicit measures of sense of agency indicating that multi-scale event control influences agency.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Christopher Fassnidge, Claudia Cecconi Marcotti, Elliot Freeman In some people, visual stimulation evokes auditory sensations. How prevalent and how perceptually real is this? 22% of our neurotypical adult participants responded ‘Yes' when asked whether they heard faint sounds accompanying flash stimuli, and showed significantly better ability to discriminate visual ‘Morse-code’ sequences. This benefit might arise from an ability to recode visual signals as sounds, thus taking advantage of superior temporal acuity of audition. In support of this, those who showed better visual relative to auditory sequence discrimination also had poorer auditory detection in the presence of uninformative visual flashes, though this was independent of awareness of visually-evoked sounds. Thus a visually-evoked auditory representation may occur subliminally and disrupt detection of real auditory signals. The frequent natural correlation between visual and auditory stimuli might explain the surprising prevalence of this phenomenon. Overall, our results suggest that learned correspondences between strongly correlated modalities may provide a precursor for some synaesthetic abilities.