Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
Lecture by Liad Mudrik: Studying the functions
of consciousness: what we know and what we want to know
Generations of scholars of different disciplines have struggled with the mystery of conscious awareness. How does it come about? And, no less importantly, what does it do? To meet the challenge of scientifically operationalizing this question, different experimental manipulations have been developed. With these methods, researchers managed to demonstrate surprisingly high-level forms of unconscious processing, like semantic integration, executive control, emotional judgments, reading and arithmetic operations. Consequently, some have suggested that consciousness may not hold any unique functional role. In this talk, I will present experiments which employ such methods, and point out their implications and limitations. I will then introduce our search for new means to probe unconscious processes, specifically targeting consciousness' role in integration of information and in action.