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Slippage in the unity of consciousness

Slippage in the unity of consciousness

Ciba Foundation Symposium 174: 168-80; Discussion 180-6

Many psychological studies assume a unity of consciousness. Doubt is cast on this assumption (a) by psychophysical studies in normal subjects and those with blindsight showing the simultaneous dissociation of different modes of report of a sensation, and (b) by clinical studies of anosognosic patients showing dissociations of awareness of their own states. These and other phenomena are interpreted to imply two kinds of division of consciousness: the separation of phenomenal experience from reflexive consciousness and the non-unity of reflexive consciousness. Reflexive consciousness is taken to be necessary for report and is associated with the self as the subject of experience and agent of report. Reflexive consciousness is operative only when we attend to our own states. When we are involved in the world reflexivity intervenes less and our consciousness is more unified.

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Accession: 033411750

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PMID: 8319507

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