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“Implicit learning, attention and consciousness: where gatekeepers fear to tread” (3/24/17)

March 21, 2017

Mahi Hardalupas

Abstract: An influential view on the relation between attention and consciousness is that attention is necessary and sufficient for consciousness, which means an agent cannot be conscious of anything outside the scope of attention.  This is the “gatekeeping” view defended by Prinz and De Brigard. The justification for gatekeeping relies on evidence from visual spatial attention tasks thus criticism of gatekeeping normally focuses on questioning the interpretation of these studies. In this talk, I intend to take a different approach and look to another domain of psychology: implicit learning. I will show how debates within implicit learning raise doubts about whether psychologists assume the gatekeeping view in their work and illustrate this with reference to a study in incidental auditory learning. Ultimately, I conclude that the gatekeeping view cannot be considered the assumed intuitive position of psychologists without more evidence from subfields of psychology other than spatial visual attention.

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