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): Michele Scandola, Salvatore Maria Aglioti, Renato Avesani, Gianettore Bertagnoni, Anna Marangoni, Valentina Moro While several studies have investigated corporeal illusions in patients who have suffered from a stroke or undergone an amputation, only anecdotal or single case reports have explored this phenomenon after spinal cord injury. Here we examine various different types of bodily misperceptions in a comparatively large group of 49 people with spinal cord injury in the post-acute and chronic phases after the traumatic lesion onset. An extensive battery of questionnaires concerning a variety of body related feelings was administered and the results were correlated to the main clinical variables. Six different typologies of Corporeal Illusion emerged: Sensations of Body Loss; Body-Part Misperceptions; Somatoparaphrenia-like sensations; Disownership-like sensations; Illusory motion and Misoplegia. All of these (with the exception of Misoplegia) are modulated by clinical variables such as pain (visceral, neuropathic and musculoskeletal), completeness of the lesion, level of the lesion and the length of time since lesion onset. In contrast, no significant correlations between bodily illusions and personality variables were found. These results support data indicating that at least some cognitive functions (in particular the body, action and space representations) are embodied and that somatosensory input and motor output may be necessary to build and maintain a typical self-body representation.
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): Manuel Rausch, Michael Zehetleitner Are logistic regression slopes suitable to quantify metacognitive sensitivity, i.e. the efficiency with which subjective reports differentiate between correct and incorrect task responses' We analytically show that logistic regression slopes are independent from rating criteria in one specific model of metacognition, which assumes (i) that rating decisions are based on sensory evidence generated independently of the sensory evidence used for primary task responses and (ii) that the distributions of evidence are logistic. Given a hierarchical model of metacognition, logistic regression slopes depend on rating criteria. According to all considered models, regression slopes depend on the primary task criterion. A reanalysis of previous data revealed that massive numbers of trials are required to distinguish between hierarchical and independent models with tolerable accuracy. It is argued that researchers who wish to use logistic regression as measure of metacognitive sensitivity need to control the primary task criterion and rating criteria.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Michiel van Elk The present study investigated the relation between paranormal beliefs, illusory control and the self-attribution bias, i.e., the motivated tendency to attribute positive outcomes to oneself while negative outcomes are externalized. Visitors of a psychic fair played a card guessing game and indicated their perceived control over randomly selected cards as a function of the congruency and valence of the card. A stronger self-attribution bias was observed for paranormal believers compared to skeptics and this bias was specifically related to traditional religious beliefs and belief in superstition. No relation between paranormal beliefs and illusory control was found. Self-report measures indicated that paranormal beliefs were associated to being raised in a spiritual family and to anomalous experiences during childhood. Thereby this study suggests that paranormal beliefs are related to specific cognitive biases that in turn are shaped by socio-cultural factors.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Christopher Jude McCarroll Jordi Fernández (2015) discusses the possible benefits of two types of allegedly distorted memories: observer memories and fabricated memories. Fernández argues that even when memory does not preserve the past, some memories can still provide an adaptive benefit for the subject. I explore Fernández’s claims focussing on the case of observer perspective memories. For Fernández, observer perspectives are distorted memories because they do not preserve past experience. In contrast, I suggest that observer perspectives can accurately reflect past experience: observer perspectives are not necessarily distorted memories. By looking at the complexity of the relation between remembering trauma from an observer perspective and emotional closure, I also sound a note of caution against Fernández’s assertion that observer memories of trauma can be adaptively beneficial. Finally, I suggest that because observer perspectives are not necessarily distorted, but involve a distinct way of thinking about one’s past, such memories can be epistemically beneficial.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Matthias Michel According to the global neuronal workspace model of consciousness, consciousness results from the global broadcast of information throughout the brain. The global neuronal workspace is mainly constituted by a fronto-parietal network. The anterior insular cortex is part of this global neuronal workspace, but the function of this region has not yet been defined within the global neuronal workspace model of consciousness. In this review, I hypothesize that the anterior insular cortex implements a cross-modal priority map, the function of which is to determine priorities for the processing of information and subsequent entrance in the global neuronal workspace.
Abstract: Publication date: Available online 28 February 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition Author(s): Elkan G. Akyürek, Ritske de Jong Stimulus contrast and duration effects on visual temporal integration and order judgment were examined in a unified paradigm. Stimulus onset asynchrony was governed by the duration of the first stimulus in Experiment 1, and by the interstimulus interval in Experiment 2. In Experiment 1, integration and order uncertainty increased when a low contrast stimulus followed a high contrast stimulus, but only when the second stimulus was 20 or 30ms. At 10ms duration of the second stimulus, integration and uncertainty decreased. Temporal order judgments at all durations of the second stimulus were better for a low contrast stimulus following a high contrast one. By contrast, in Experiment 2, a low contrast stimulus following a high contrast stimulus consistently produced higher integration rates, order uncertainty, and lower order accuracy. Contrast and duration thus interacted, breaking correspondence between integration and order perception. The results are interpreted in a tentative conceptual framework.
Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 February 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition Author(s): Wolfgang Prinz This paper outlines an Import Theory of subjectivity and selfhood. Import theory claims that subjectivity is initially perceived as a key feature of other minds before it then becomes imported from other minds to own minds whereby it lays the ground for mental selfhood. Import theory builds on perception-production matching, which in turn draws on both representational mechanisms and social practices. Representational mechanisms rely on common coding of perception and production. Social practices rely on action mirroring in dyadic interactions. The interplay between mechanisms and practices gives rise to model self on others. Individuals become intentional agents in virtue of perceiving others mirroring themselves. The outline of the theory is preceded by an introductory section that locates import theory in the broader context of competing approaches, and it is followed by a concluding section that assesses import theory in terms of empirical evidence and explanatory power.
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): Cherise Rosen, Nev Jones, Kayla A. Chase, Jennifer K. Melbourne, Linda S. Grossman, Rajiv P. Sharma Understanding alterations in perceptual experiences as a component of the basic symptom structure of psychosis may improve early detection and the identification of subtle shifts that can precede symptom onset or exacerbation. We explored the phenomenological construct of absorption and psychotic experiences in both clinical (bipolar psychosis and schizophrenia spectrum) and non-clinical participants. Participants with psychosis endorsed significantly higher absorption compared to the non-clinical group. Absorption was positively correlated with all types of hallucinations and multiple types of delusions. The analysis yielded two distinct cluster groups that demarcated a distinction along the continuum of self-disturbance: on characterized by attenuated ego boundaries and the other stable ego boundaries. The study suggests that absorption is a potentially important but under-researched component of psychosis that overlaps with, but is not identical to the more heavily theorized constructs of aberrant salience and hyperreflexivity.
Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 February 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition Author(s): Sébastien M. Crouzet, Lyudmyla Y. Kovalenko, Simon Hviid del Pin, Morten Overgaard, Niko A. Busch Object-substitution masking (OSM) occurs when a briefly displayed target in a search array is surrounded by a mask, which remains onscreen after the target has disappeared. It has been suggested that OSM results from a specific interference with reentrant visual processing, while the initial feedforward processing is left intact. Here, we tested the prediction that the fastest saccadic responses towards a masked target, supposedly triggered before the onset of reentrant processing, are not impaired by OSM. Indeed, saccades faster than 350ms “escaped” the influence of the mask. Notably, participants’ judgements of subjective awareness indicated that stimulus processing during this early stage is not entirely devoid of conscious awareness. Furthermore, the N2pc event-related potential component indicated shifts of spatial attention towards the masked targets on trials with correct fast saccades, suggesting that both target detection and spatial attention can be based on the computations accomplished during the initial feedforward sweep.
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): H. Merckelbach, I. Boskovic, D. Pesy, M. Dalsklev, S.J. Lynn We discuss a phenomenon that has received little attention to date in research on dissociative phenomena, namely that self-reports of these phenomena overlap with the tendency to overendorse eccentric items. We review the literature documenting the dissociation-overreporting link and then briefly discuss various interpretations of this link: (1) overreporting is an artifact of measuring dissociative symptoms; (2) dissociative psychopathology engenders overreporting of eccentric symptoms through fantasy proneness or impairments in internal monitoring; (3) an overreporting response style as is evident in malingerers, for example, promotes reports of dissociative symptoms. These three interpretations are not mutually exclusive. Also, the dissociation-overreporting link may have different origins among different samples. Because overreporting may introduce noise in datasets, we need more research specifically aimed at disentangling the dissociation-overreporting link. We suggest various avenues to accomplish this goal.
Abstract: Publication date: March 2017 Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 49 Author(s): Adam Bulley, Julie D. Henry, Thomas Suddendorf Humans have evolved mechanisms for the detection and management of possible threats in order to abate their negative consequences for fitness. Internally generated (‘detached’) cognition may have evolved in part because of its contributions to this broad function, but important questions remain about its role in threat management. In this article, we therefore present a taxonomy of threat-related internally generated cognition comprising episodic and semantic formats of memory and prospection. We address the proximate mechanisms of each of the capacities in this taxonomy, and discuss their respective contributions to adaptive threat management in humans. For instance, mental time travel empowers people to contemplate and learn from threats experienced long ago, as well as to plan for dangers that might arise in the distant future. However, despite their functional benefits, these thought processes are also central to contemporary anxiety disorders and may be a potent source of distress.
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): Marek Havlík Consciousness still stands as one of the most interesting and the most elusive problems of neuroscience. Finding its correlates is the first step toward its satisfactory explanation. Several theories have proposed its correlates but none of them seem to be generally accepted even though most of them share some very similar elements. These elements are the activity of the thalamus, which is considered by some as the central region for consciousness, and gamma synchronization, which should be the general principal for the emergence of conscious experience. However, all of these proposed theories share one characteristic and that is that they do not take into consideration the recently discovered endogenous activity of the brain, which is generally associated with the default mode network. Although the activity of this large scale brain network is in correlation with various levels of consciousness it is still missing in discussions of consciousness. This review recognizes the importance of endogenous activity and points out the important discoveries of endogenous activity that could be an important step toward a satisfactory explanation of consciousness.
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.