A new empirical challenge for local theories of consciousness

Mind and Language 37 (5):840-855 (2021)
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Local theories of consciousness state that one is conscious of a feature if it is adequately represented and processed in sensory brain areas, given some background conditions. We challenge the core prediction of local theories based on long-lasting postdictive effects demonstrating that features can be represented for hundreds of milliseconds in perceptual areas without being consciously perceived. Unlike previous empirical data aimed against local theories, localists cannot explain these effects away by conjecturing that subjects are phenomenally conscious of features that they cannot report. We also discuss alternative explanations that localists could offer.

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