CSCI 3702
Cognitive Science

Potential Course Readings

These references will probably not be used as course readings.
These references are incomplete.
This color indicaates a comment.  Some comment are from Adam Vinueza, a philosopher of mind.
This color indicates availability.  eprint = electronic version; reprint = hard copy


Definitions and Approaches

Koch, C. (2004). The question for consciousness: A neuroscientific approach. Denver, CO: Roberts and Company Publishers. ( <chapter 1, eprint>

Allport, A. (1988). What concept of consciousness? In A.J. Marcel & E. Bisiach (Eds), Consciousness in Contemporary Science. (pp. 159-182). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Nagel, T. (1974). What is it like to be a bat? Philosophical Review, 4, 435-450.  <> [Vinueza:   Possibly the most important philosophical paper on consciousness in the century. Sufficiently murky to invite an absurd range of conflicting interpretations and refutations, Nagel's paper beautifully articulates the deep worry that there's something about consciousness we'll never be able to explain, at least in the way we explain ordinary physical phenomena. Paper that made fashionable the idea that explaining P must make not-P inconceivable given the explanation.]

Chalmers, D. (1995). Facing up to the problem of consciousness.  Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2, 200-219.  <eprint> [Can consciousness be explained at al?  Vineuza:  Chalmers updates the classic arguments from Nagel and others (Frank Jackson, Saul Kripke), and offers his own account of what an explanation of consciousness would look like. Introduces his now-famous distinction between "easy" problems of consciousness and the "hard" problem.  By the way, Chalmers has a new paper on his web site that expresses his positive views on explaining consciousness, called, "How can we construct a science of consciousness?"]

Searle, J.R. (1997).  Consciousness and the philosophers (review of Chalmers' The Conscious Mind:  In Search of a Fundamental Theory).  The New York Times Review of Books, March 6,pp. 43-50. <eprint>

Lewis, D, (1990).  What experience teaches.  In Lycan (Ed.), Mind and Cognition.  Blackwell. [Vinueza: A response to Nagel and Frank Jackson that makes crystal-clear what's at stake for most materialist philosophers of mind. Lewis also articulates a brilliant though controversial diagnosis of the problem: knowing what it's like is the having of abilities, not the having of information, so it's no surprise that a theory can't tell us what it's like. Requires no special expertise in philosophy.]

Block, N. (????).  On a confusion about the function of consciousness.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences.  [Introduces distiinction between phenomenal and access consciousness.]

Farber, I. B., & Churchland, P. S. (1995). Consciousness and the neurosciences: Philosophical and theoretical issues. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences (pp. 1295-1306). Cambridge, MA: Bradford Books/MIT Press.

Goldman, A. I. (1993). Consciousness, folk psychology, and cognitive science. Consciousness and Cognition, 2, 364-382.

Mandler, G. (1996). Consciousness redux. In J. D. Cohen & J. W. Schooler (Eds.), Scientific approaches to consciousness. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Rosenthal, D. (1986).  Two concepts of consciousness.  Philosophical Studies, 49.  [Vinueza:  The higher-order-thought model of consciousness. Very interesting view that has recently gained well-deserved scrutiny. Rosenthal's paper is important not just for
the theory, but also for the taxonomy of consciousnes he offers: no other philosopher has thought as carefully about differences between kinds of conscious phenomena.  Difficult reading.]
Levine, J. (1990).  On leaving out what it's like.  In Davies and Humphreys (Eds.), Consciousness.  Blackwell. [Vinueza: Levine's work on "the explanatory gap" is influential and much-cited. He thinks that we'll never explain consciousness, even if materialism is true, because the "what-it's-like" aspect of conscious experience can't be explained by any materialist theory. Key idea: Levine and many others think that for a theory T to explain a phenomenon P, the conjunction of T with not-P must be inconceivable.]


Frith, C., Perry, R., & Lumer, E. (1999).  The neural correlates of conscious experience:  An experimental framework.  Trends in Cognitive Science, 3, 105-114. <eprint>

Zeki, S. (2003). The disunity of consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Science, 7, 214-218. <eprint>

Attempts to decode what has become known as the (singular) neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) suppose that consciousness is a single unified entity, a belief that finds expression in the term 'unity of consciousness'. Here, I propose that the quest for the NCC will remain elusive until we acknowledge that consciousness is not a unity, and that there are instead many consciousnesses that are distributed in time and space.

Chalmers, D. (2000). What is a Neural Correlate of Consciousness? In  T. Metzinger (Ed.), Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Empirical and Conceptual Issues. MIT Press. <eprint>


Baars, B. (1994). A thoroughly empirical approach to consciousness. PSYCHE: An interdisciplinary journal of research on consciousness, 1.

Reingold, E. M., & Merikle, P. M. (1990). On the interrelatedness of theory and measurement in the study of unconscious processes. Mind and Language, 5, 9-28.


Gregory, R.L. (1997).  Visual illusions classified.  Trends in Cognitive Science, 1, 190-194. <eprint>

Gray, J. (2003). How are qualia coupled to functions? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 192-194. <eprint>

What determines the nature of subjective experience: associated behavioural functions or mediating neural activity? A recent analysis by Hurley and Noë of a variety of cases of behavioural and neural plasticity shows that, under different conditions, either can predominate. This adds to other efforts to transfer the doctrine of functionalism from philosophical debate to empirical scrutiny, where it is hoped that it may eventually be resolved.



Atkinson, AP, Thomas, MSC, Cleeremans, A. (2000).  Consciousness:  Mapping the theoretical landscape. Trends in Cognitive Science, 10, 372-382. <eprint>

Dennett, D., & Kinsbourne, M. (1992). Time and the observer: The where and when of consciousness in the brain. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 15, 183-247.  [Vinueza:  The multiple-drafts model of consciousness, famouse for its attack on what Dennett likes to call the "Cartesian theater," and for its analysis of the phi phenomena.]

Schacter, D. L. (1989). On the relation between memory and consciousness: Dissociable interactions and conscious experience. In H. L. Roediger III and F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of Memory and Consciousness (pp. 355-389). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Shallice, T. (1988). Modularity and consciousness. In From Neuropsychology to Mental Structure (Chapter 16). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Marcel, A. J. (1983). Conscious and unconscious perception: An approach to the relations between phenomenal experience and perceptual processes. Cognitive Psychology, 15, 238-300.

Dehaene, S., & Naccache, L. (2001). Towards a cognitive neuroscience of  consciousness: Basic evidence and a workspace framework. Cognition, 79, 1-37. <eprint>

Baars, B. (2002). The conscious access hypothesis: Origins and recent evidence. Trends in Cognitive Science, 6, 47-52. <eprint>

Crick, F., & Koch, C. (2003).  A framework for consciousness.  Nature, 6, 119-126.  <eprint>

Here we summarize our present approach to the problem of consciousness. After an introduction outlining our general strategy, we describe what is meant by the term 'framework' and set it out under ten headings. This framework offers a coherent scheme for explaining the neural correlates of (visual) consciousness in terms of competing cellular assemblies. Most of the ideas we favor have been suggested before, but their combination is original. We also outline some general experimental approaches to the problem and, finally, acknowledge some relevant aspects of the brain that have been left out of the proposed framework.

Further reviews and comments at

O'Brien, G., & Opie, J. (1999).  A connectionist theory of phenomenal experience.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 127-196. <eprint>

Bechtel, W. (1995). Consciousness: Perspectives from symbolic and connectionist AI. Neuropsychologia, 33, 1075-1086.

Hardcastle, V. G. (1995). A critique of information processing theories of consciousness, Minds and Machines, 5, 89-107.

Lloyd, D. (1995). Consciousness: A connectionist manifesto. Minds and Machines, 5, 161-185.

Gray, J. (1995). The contents of consciousness: A neuropsychological conjecture. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 18, 659-676.

Grossberg, S. (1999).  The link between brain learning, attention, and consciousness.  Consciousness and Cognition, 8, 1-44.

Roy, J. E. (2003). A theory of consciousness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 244-250.

I propose that two brain systems converge to create consciousness. The exogenous system sends information about multimodal external stimuli to basal dendrites in widely dispersed pyramidal cell ensembles in the cortex of the brain; this system produces synchronized fragments of sensations. The endogenous system distributes readout of representations of memories, activated in systems established by associative learning, diffusely to apical dendrites. Convergence of exogenous and endogenous inputs enhances cellular excitability, and fragmented sensations are thereby converted to fragments of perception. Local field potentials periodically modulate all cortical membrane potentials and facilitate synchronous discharge of these excited elements. Feedback between the cortex and the thalamus results in a cortico-thalamo-cortical reverberation, binding the fragments into a unified global percept. Sustained reverberation produces a resonating electromagnetic field of synchronized elements. The momentary content of information in the brain is this distributed coherence, which is negative entropy. Consciousness is a physical property of this field, producing the subjective awareness of this information.

Computational models

Farah, M.J., O'Reilly, R.C., & Vecera, S.P. (1993). Dissociated overt and covert recognition as an emergent property of a lesioned neural network. Psychological Review, 100, 571-588.

Mathis, D. W. & Mozer, M. C. (1996). Conscious and unconscious perception: a computational theory. In G. Cottrell (Ed.), Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 324-328). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum & Associates. <eprint>

Dehaene, S., Sergent, C., & Changeux, J.-P. (2003).  A neural network model linking subjective reports and objective physiological data during conscious perception.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100, 8520-8525. <eprint>

Colagrosso, M. D., & Mozer, M. C. (2004).  Theories of access consciousness.  Submitted for publication.  <eprint>

Mathis, D. A., & Mozer, M. C. (1995). On the computational utility of consciousness . In G. Tesauro, D. S. Touretzky, & T. K. Leen (Eds.), Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 7 (pp. 10-18). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Subliminal Perception

Marcel, A. J. (1983). Conscious and unconscious perception: Experiments on visual masking and word recognition. Cognitive Psychology, 15, 238-300.

Greenwald, A. G., Klinger, M. R., & Schuh E. S. (1995). Activation by marginally perceptible ("subliminal") stimuli: Dissociation of unconscious from conscious cognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 124, 22-42.

Greenwald, A. G., Draine, S. C., & Abrams, R. L. (1996). Three cognitive markers of unconscious semantic activation. Science, 273, 1699-1702. <eprint>

Debner, J. A., & Jacoby, L. L. (1994). Unconscious perception: Attention, awareness, and control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20, 304-317.

Bar, M., & Biederman, I. (1998). Subliminal visual priming. Psychological Science, 9, 464-469. <eprint>

Dehaene, S., Naccache, L., Cohen, L., LeBihan, D., Mangin, F. J., Poline, J.-B., & Rivière, D. (2001). Cerebral mechanisms of word masking and unconscious repetition priming.  Nature Neuroscience, 4, 752--758. <eprint>


Fehrer, E., & Raab, D. (1962). Reaction time to stimuli masked by metacontrast. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 143-147.

Schiller, P. H. , & Smith, M. C. (1966). Detection in metacontrast. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71, 32-39.

Lachter, J., Durgin, F. H., & Washington, T. (2000). Disappearing percepts: Evidence for retention failure in metacontrast masking. Visual Cognition, 7, 269-279. <eprint>

Durlach, NI, Mason, CR, Kidd, G Jr., Arbogast, TL, Colburn, HS, & Shinn-Cunningham, BG. (2003).  Note on informational masking.  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 113, 2984-2987. <eprint>

Multistable Visual Stimuli

Logothetis, N. K., & Schall, J. D. (1989). Neuronal correlates of subjective visual perception. Science, 245, 761-763.  <eprint>

Sheinberg, D., & Logothetis, N. (1997).  The role of temporal cortical areas in perceptual organization.  Proceedings of the national academy of sciences USA, 94, 3408-3413. <eprint>

Leopold, D. A., & Logothetis, N. K. (1999).  Multistable phenomena:  changing views in perception.  Trends in Cognitive Science, 3, 254-264. <eprint>

Lumer, ED, Friston, KJ, & Rees, G (1999).  Neural correlates of perceptual rivalry in the human brain.  Science, 280, 1930-1934. <eprint>

Role of Early Visual Cortex in Awareness

Tong, F. (2003) Primary visual cortex and visual awareness. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 4, 219-229. <eprint>

Polonsky, A., Blake, R., Braun, J., & Heeger, D. J. (2000).  Neuronal activity in human primary visual corteex correlates with perception during binocular rivalry.  Nature Neuroscience, 3, 1153-1159. <eprint>

Crick, F., & Koch, C. (1995).  Are we aware of neural activity in primary visual cortex?  375, 121-123.

Visual awareness

Milner, A. D. (1995). Cerebral correlates of visual awareness. Neuropsychologia, 9, 1117-1130.

Pins, D., & ffytch, D. (2003).  The neural correlates of conscious vision.  Cerebral Cortex, 13, 461-474. <eprint>

Rees, G., & Lavie, N. (2001). What can functional imaging reveal about the role of visual awareness?  Neuropsychologia, 39, 1343-1353. <eprint>

Moutoussis, K., & Zeki, S. (2002).  The relationship between cortical activation and perception investigated with invisible stimuli.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99, 9527-9532. <eprint>

The aim of this work was to study the relationship between cortical activity and visual perception. To do so, we developed a psychophysical technique that is able to dissociate the visual percept from the visual stimulus and thus distinguish brain activity reflecting the perceptual state from that reflecting other stages of stimulus processing. We used dichoptic color fusion to make identical monocular stimuli of opposite color contrast "disappear" at the binocular level and thus become "invisible" as far as conscious visual perception is concerned. By imaging brain activity in subjects during a discrimination task between face and house stimuli presented in this way, we found that house-specific and face-specific brain areas are always activated in a stimulus-specific way regardless of whether the stimuli are perceived. Absolute levels of cortical activation, however, were lower with invisible stimulation compared with visible stimulation. We conclude that there is no terminal "perceptual" area in the visual brain, but that the brain regions involved in processing a visual stimulus are also involved in its perception, the difference between the two being dictated by a higher level of activity in the specific brain region when the stimulus is perceived.

Rauschenberger, R., & Yantis, S. (2001).  Masking unveils pre-amodal completion representation in visual search.  Nature, 410, 369-372. <eprint>


Farah, M.J. (1992). Visual perception and visual awareness after brain damage: A tutorial overview. In C. Umilta & M. Moscovitch (Eds.), Attention and Performance XV: Conscious and Nonconscious Information Processing (pp. 39-76). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kolb, F. C., & Braun, J. (1995). Blindsight in normal observers. Nature, 377, 336-338.

Stoerig, P., & Cowey, A. (1997). Blindsight in man and monkey.  Brain, 120, 535-559. <eprint>

Weiskrantz, L. (1996).  Blindsight revisited.  Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 6, 215-220.  <eprint>


Farah, M.J., Wilson, K.D., Drain, H.M., & Tanaka, J.R. (1994). The inverted face inversion effect in prosopagnosia: evidence for mandatory, face-specific perceptual mechanisms. Vision Research, 14, 2089-2093.

Schweinberger, S.R., Klos, T., & Sommer, W. (1995) Covert face recognition in prosopagnosia: a dissociable function? Cortex, 31, 517-529


Ramachandran, Hubbard (April 2003).  Hearing colors, tasting shapes.  Scientific American.

Gray, JA, Chopping, S, Nunn, J, Parslow, D, Gregory, L, Williams, S, Brammer MJ, Baron-Cohen, S. (2002).  Implications of synaethesia for functionalism:  Theory and experiments.  Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9, 5-31.


Deouell, L. Y. (2002).  Prerequisites for conscious awareness:  Clues from electrophysiological and behavioral studies of unilateral neglect patients.  Consciousness and Cognition, 11, 546-567. <eprint>

Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (1991). Attentional mechanisms and conscious experience. In A. D. Milner & M. D. Rugg (Eds.), The Neuropsychology of Consciousness.

Driver, J. & Mattingley, J. B. (1998).  Parietal neglect and visual awareness.  Nature Neuroscience, 1, 17-22. <eprint>

Lamme, V. A. F. (2003). Why visual attention and awareness are different.  Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(1), 12-18.  <eprint>


Implicit versus Explicit Memory

Schacter, D. (1998).  Memory and awareness.  Science, 280, 59-60. <html>

Tulving, E. (1985). Memory and consciousness. Canadian Psychology, 26, 1-13.

Jacoby, L. L., Toth, J. P., & Yonelinas, A. P. (1993). Separating conscious and unconscious influences of memory: Measuring recollection. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2, 139-154.

Roediger III, H. L. (1990). Implicit memory: Retention without remembering. American Psychologist, 9, 1043-1056. [overview on implicit memory]

Jacoby, L. L., & Whitehouse, K. (1989). An illusion of memory: False recognition influenced by unconscious perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 118, 126-135. [effect of awareness on false recall]

Eichenbaum, H. (1999).  Conscious awareness, memory, and the hippocampus.  Nature Neuroscience, 2, 775-776. <eprint>

Cleeremans, A., Destrebecqz, A., & Boyer, M. (1998).  Implicit learning: News from the front.  Trends in Cognitive Science, 2, 406-416. <eprint>


Lucchelli, F., Muggia, S., & Spinnler, H. (1995). The 'petites madeleines' phenomenon in two amnesic patients. Brain, 118, 167-183. [sudden recovery of forgotten memories]

Schacter, D. L., Verfaellie, M., & Pradere, D. (1996). The neuropsychology of memory illusions: False recall and recognition in amnesic patients. Journal of Memory and Language, 35, 319-334 [covers both normals and brain-damaged patients]

Bowers, K. S., & Woody, E. Z. (1996). Hypnotic amnesia and the paradox of intentional forgetting. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, 381-390.

Kihlstrom, JF (1997).  Hypnosis, memory, and amnesia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society:  Biological Sciences, 372, 1727-1732. <eprint> 

Squire, L. R., & Zola, S. M. (1997).  Amnesia, memory, and brain systems.  Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B., 352, 1663-1674. <eprint>

Sleep and Anesthesia

Bosinelli, M. (1995). Mind and consciousness during sleep. Behavioral Brain Research, 69, 195-201.

Bonebakker, A. E., Bonke, B., Klein, M. D., Wolters, G., Stijnen, Th., Passchier, J., & Merikle, P. M. (1996). Information processing during general anesthesia: Evidence for unconscious memory. Memory & Cognition, 24, 766-776.

Merikle, P. M., & Daneman, M. (1996). Memory for unconsciously perceived events: Evidence from anesthetized patients. Consciousness and Cognition, 5, 525-541. <eprint>

Higher Cognition

Conscious access to mental processes

Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231-259.

Ramachandran, V. S. (1992). Filling in gaps in perception: Part I. Psychological Science, 1, 199-205.

Ramachandran, V. S. (1993). Filling in gaps in perception: Part II. Scotomas and phantom limbs. Psychological Science, 2, 56-65.

Witherspoon, D., & Allan, L. G. (1985). The effect of a prior presentation on temporal judgements in a perceptual identification task. Memory and Cognition, 13, 101-111.


Adair, J. C. et al. (1995) Anosognosia for hemiplegia: Test of the personal neglect hypothesis. Neurology, 45, 2195-2199.

Ramachandran, V. S. (1995). Anosognosia in parietal lobe syndrome. Consciousness and Cognition, 4, 22-51. <eprint>

Blakemore, S.-J.,  Oakley, D.A., & Frith, C. D. (2003).  Delusions of alien control in the normal brain.  Neuropsychologia, 41, 1058-1067. <eprint>


Dehaene, S., Artiges, E., Naccache, L., Martelli, C., Viard, A., Schürhoff, F., Recasens, C., Paillère-Martinot, M.-L., Leboyer, M. and Martinot, J.-L.(2003). Conscious and subliminal conflicts in normal subjects and patients with schizophrenia: The role of the anterior cingulate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 100(23), 13722-13727. <eprint>

Blakemore, S.-J., Oakley, D. A., & Frith, C. D. (2003).Delusions of alien control in the normal brain. Neuropsychologia, 41, 1058-1067

Delusions of alien control, or passivity experiences, are symptoms associated with schizophrenia in which patients misattribute self-generated actions to an external source. In this study hypnosis was used to induce a similar misattribution of self-generated movement in normal, healthy individuals. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) was employed to investigate the neural correlates of active movements correctly attributed to the self, compared with identical active movements misattributed to an external source. Active movements attributed to an external source resulted in significantly higher activations in the parietal cortex and cerebellum than identical active movements correctly attributed to the self. We suggest that, as a result of hypnotic suggestion, the functioning of this cerebellar-parietal network is altered so that self-produced actions are experienced as being external. These results have implications for the brain mechanisms underlying delusions of control, which may be associated with overactivation of the cerebellar-parietal network.


Crawford, H. J., & Gruzelier, J. H. (1992). A midstream view of neuropsychophysiology of hypnosis: Recent research and future directions. In E. Fromm & M. R. Nash (Eds.), Contemporary Hypnosis Research (pp. 227-266). New York: Guilford Press.

Self Awareness

Frith, U., & Happe, F. (1999).  Theory of mind and self-consciousness:  What is it like to be autistic?  Mind and Language, 14, 1-22. <eprint>

Morin, A. (2001).  The split-brain debate revisited:  On the importance of language and self-recognition for right hemisphere consciousness.  Journal of Mind and Behavior, 22, 107-118.  <eprint>

Aesthetic Perception

Brown, J. (1999).  On aesthetic perception.  Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, 144-160. <eprint>

Goguen, J. A. (2000).  What is art?  Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7, 7-15. <eprint>

Animal consciousness

Weiskrantz, L. (1995). The problem of animal consciousness in relation to neuropsychology. Behavioral Brain Research, 71, 171-175.

Griffin, D. R. (1995). Windows on animal minds. Consciousness and Cognition, 4, 194-204.

Marten, K., & Psarakos, S. (1995). Using self-view television to distinguish between self-examination and social behavior in the bottlenose dolphin. Consciousness and Cognition, 4, 205-224.

Reiss, D., & Marino, L. (2001).  Mirror self-recognition in the bottlenose dolphin:  A case of cognitive convergence.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 98, 5937-5942.  <eprint>

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