Cognitive penetration: nowhere or everywhere? Either way you should probably wear protection

Over the past three decades there has been growing consensus that our experiences are not isolated forms that emerge unscathed from the influences of our beliefs, motivations and desires. Rather, they are penetrated by these cognitive or so-called ‘top-down’ effects to the point where the traditional boundaries between cognition and perception are … [Read more...]

What grabs your attention?

Advertisers and marketers make a living out of grabbing your attention. They are not above using sudden loud noises (a salient physical stimulus or bottom-up attention grab). Nor do they shy away from top-down effects such as priming (defined as subtle suggestions made to the ‘subconscious’ brain to influence behaviour). But wait. Don’t classical … [Read more...]

Consciousness – solved. Next stop – pain.

Some of you have no doubt heard the phrase ‘pain doesn’t exist until you feel it’.  This phrase refers to the dependence that pain has on being conscious. One might suggest that we would be better placed to solve the pain problem if we first solved the consciousness problem. What is the consciousness problem?  Well, it is what many cognitive … [Read more...]