[Neuroscience] Re: Conditioning and consciousness
Glen M. Sizemore
(by gmsizemore2 from yahoo.com)
Fri Oct 27 05:12:41 EST 2006
MB: It is widely believed that implicit learning (including classical and
operant conditioning) does not depend on conscious awareness.
GS: Since one meaning of "conscious" and "aware" is simply "behaves" or
"responds to stimuli," this statement merely points up the conceptual
confusion that constitutes mainstream psychology and cognitive "science."
MB: However, it seems that if an animal is to learn something through
conditioning, it should be able to remember past events of the same
kind--that is it needs retrieval of episodic memory which is not possible in
the absence of consciousness.
GS: A minority of scientists think that the different kinds of memory ARE
conditioning phenomena (I am one of them). That is, rather than needing
"memory" to explain conditioning, the reverse is true. Relatedly, a minority
of scientists believe that the notion that remembering is a matter of
"retrieving stored memories" is a bunch of metphoical crap (I am one of
MB: It follows that, in contrast to the widely held idea, associative
conditioning requires conscious awareness and is not possible in unconscious
GS: You are mixing up two different concepts. You can't anesthetize an
animal and get conditioning (certainly not operant conditioning!), but that
doesn't mean that conditioning requires "consciousness in the sense of
self-aware." The Hefferline experiments of decades ago demonstrate
convincingly that operant conditioning can proceed without "self-awareness"
even in humans.
MB: If this argument is reasonable, why it is stated in neuroscience
textbooks that implicit learning does not depend on conscious awareness?
GS: My opinion, again, I that the whole issue reflects the conceptual
nonsense that is cognitive "science."
MB: Do you know any case of associative conditioning occurring in an
GS: To respond discriminatively to aspects of the world is to "be aware" of
that aspect. To respond to one's own behavior is to be "self-aware." These
require two different sets of contingencies of reinforcement.
"Majid Beshkar" <majid.beshkar from yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:mailman.231.1161916072.23274.neur-sci from net.bio.net...
> It is widely believed that implicit learning (including classical and
> operant conditioning) does not depend on
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