The perceptual reality monitoring theory

In Michael Herzog, Aaron Schurger & Adrien Doerig (eds.), Scientific Theories of Consciousness: The Grand Tour. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)
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This chapter presents the perceptual reality monitoring theory of consciousness (PRM). PRM is a higher-order theory of consciousness. It holds that consciousness involves monitoring the reliability of one’s own sensory signals. I explain how a perceptual reality monitoring mechanism computes the higher order representations that are crucial for consciousness. While PRM accounts for the difference between conscious and unconscious states, it does not explain, on its own, why experiences feel the way they do—the phenomenal character of experience. PRM is compatible with multiple theories of phenomenal character. Here, I show how to combine it with ‘Mental Quality Space’ theory. I finish by presenting empirical evidence for PRM, as well as some of its predictions.

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Matthias Michel
New York University


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