The Role of Consciousness in Memory
Topics:Theory of Consciousness
Deposited by:Prof Stan Franklin
Date of Issue:2005
Journal/Publication Title:Brains, Minds and Media
Abstract:Conscious events interact with memory systems in learning, rehearsal and retrieval (Ebbinghaus 1885/1964; Tulving 1985). Here we present hypotheses that arise from the IDA computional model (Franklin, Kelemen and McCauley 1998; Franklin 2001b) of global workspace theory (Baars 1988, 2002). Our primary tool for this exploration is a flexible cognitive cycle employed by the IDA computational model and hypothesized to be a basic element of human cognitive processing. Since cognitive cycles are hypothesized to occur five to ten times a second and include interaction between conscious contents and several of the memory systems, they provide the means for an exceptionally fine-grained analysis of various cognitive tasks. We apply this tool to the small effect size of subliminal learning compared to supraliminal learning, to process dissociation, to implicit learning, to recognition vs. recall, and to the availability heuristic in recall. The IDA model elucidates the role of consciousness in the updating of perceptual memory, transient episodic memory, and procedural memory. In most cases, memory is hypothesized to interact with conscious events for its normal functioning. The methodology of the paper is unusual in that the hypotheses and explanations presented are derived from an empirically based, but broad and qualitative computational model of human cognition.