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Evaluating Scientific Issues Does Conscious Thought Control Behaviour.docx

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University of Lethbridge
PSYC 3325
John Usher

Evaluating Scientific Issues: Does Conscious Thought Control Behaviour ● previously psychologists would not study consciousness because it was not observable behaviour – Descartes thought human actions were controlled by non-material mind (dualism); William James thought emotional awareness came after reaction ● recent evidence from cognitive psychology and neuropsychology provides way of thinking about issue of conscious control of behaviour – some evidence uses phenomenon of visual illusions  2 crayons – horizontal looks shorter (“top hat illusion” - because it is often demonstrated using judgments about crown vs brim of hat)  Ganel and Goodale – compared perceptual judgments of object shape with ability to pick up object and showed people wooden block on table and asked them whether block was wider or narrow and repeated with different blocks ■ easy to judge width if blocks are all same length but if length was different then task was difficult ■ grasping actions was not affected by variation in length ● perceptual awareness of objects may be based on different visual system than one we use for actions ● Ebbinghau illusion – circle surrounded by big circles looks smaller than circle surrounded by small circles but if you were to reach for them your behaviour would be unaffected by relative size  introspective experiences would tell us that they were diferent in size but behaviour would reflect otherwise ● thought and action go together but is correlation – could be third action of brain that causes action and thought ● Libet – asked people to make hand motion while watching rapidly moving clock hand and were to report where clock hand was at time they became aware of an intention to move  reports indicated that they experienced awareness of intention 3/10 of a second before motion  also measured “readiness potential” - electrical brain activity of motor cortex prior to movement ■ occured about 7/10 of a second before mo
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