Confidence in Consciousness Research

WIREs Cognitive Science:e1628 (forthcoming)
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To study (un)conscious perception and test hypotheses about consciousness, researchers need procedures for determining whether subjects consciously perceive stimuli or not. This article is an introduction to a family of procedures called ‘confidence-based procedures’, which consist in interpreting metacognitive indicators as indicators of consciousness. I assess the validity and accuracy of these procedures, and answer a series of common objections to their use in consciousness research. I conclude that confidence-based procedures are valid for assessing consciousness, and, in most cases, accurate enough for our practical and scientific purposes.

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Matthias Michel
New York University


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