Investigating the Awareness of Remembering

Ken A. Paller*, Joel L. Voss, Carmen E. Westerberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is a marked lack of consensus concerning the best way to learn how conscious experiences arise. In this article, we advocate for scientific approaches that attempt to bring together four types of phenomena and their corresponding theoretical accounts: behavioral acts, cognitive events, neural events, and subjective experience. We propose that the key challenge is to comprehensively specify the relationships among these four facets of the problem of understanding consciousness without excluding any facet. Although other perspectives on consciousness can also be informative, combining these four perspectives could lead to significant progress in explaining a conscious experience such as remembering. We summarize some relevant findings from cognitive neuroscience investigations of the conscious experience of memory retrieval and of memory behaviors that transpire in the absence of the awareness of remembering. These examples illustrate suitable scientific strategies for making progress in understanding consciousness by developing and testing theories that connect the behavioral expression of recall and recognition, the requisite cognitive transactions, the neural events that make remembering possible, and the awareness of remembering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-199
Number of pages15
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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