intentional equivalent to blindsight

Todd I. Stark stark at dwovax.enet.dec.com
Thu Apr 14 14:19:20 EST 1994

In article <1994Apr14.161510.1958 at mp.cs.niu.edu>, rickert at mp.cs.niu.edu (Neil Rickert) writes...
>In article <94103.093958VCBCC at CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU> <VCBCC at CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU> writes:
>>Q: Is there an intentional equivalent to blindsight?

Yes, probably, but the difficulties of interpreting that situation go up
astronomically when you go to do an experimental test.

The 'nice' thing about experiments on blindsight is that they are (sort-of)
straightforward.  Subject has a consistent and testable lack of response
to some kinds of features, yet apparently a testable response to others.  
Even at this seemingly straightforward level, the interpretation is sometimes 
controversial, especially with respect to what the subject is
_experiencing_ phenomenally, and what they are _perceiving_.  

Perhaps the best studied class of phenomena involving a person's reported
experience of non-volition with regard to their own actions is in hypnotic 
suggestion.  The hypnotic subject comes to perceive that their actions are
the result of suggestions from the hypnotist rather than of their own
volition, but it is extremely difficult to tell at what point in the
information processing model this apparent disconnection between their
actions and their awareness of initiating their actions is taking place.

Perception of things like close range gunshots is apparently not processed
in some cases, based on reliable measurements of arousal, yet many of the
same people later report having known that they had previously heard
the gunshots.  There is plenty of room for a number of different 
interpretations of what is going on !   

To appreciate the difficulty, consider how problematic the study of
'attention' has been in cognitive psychology.  The information processing
model provides the idea of a bottleneck in our perceptual processing but it 
took many years to try to locate and describe the nature of the bottleneck,
and there are still some very ambiguous aspects.  

						kind regards,

| Todd I. Stark				  stark at dwovax.enet.dec.com           |
| Digital Equipment Corporation		             (215) 542-3573           |
| Philadelphia, Pa. 19152   USA                                               |
| "There are four basic types : the cretin, the imbecile, the stupid, and the |
|  mad.  Normality is a balanced mixture of all four."  Umberto Eco           |

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