Vol. 39, Number 3, Summer 2018

How Sustainable are Different Levels of Consciousness
Erik J. Wiersma, Alba Biologics

The human brain processes a wide variety of inputs and does so either consciously or subconsciously. According to the global workspace theory, conscious processing involves broadcasting of information to several regions of the brain and subconscious processing involves more localized information processing. This paper expands on some of the aspects of the theory: how the properties of incoming information result in the input being processed subconsciously or consciously; why processing can either be sustained or short-lived; how the global workspace theory may apply both to real-time sensory input as well as to internally retained information. This paper proposes that: familiar input which evokes weak emotions becomes processed subconsciously and such processing can be continuous and sustained; input that elicits stronger emotions is subjected to highly sustainable conscious processing; input can also undergo meta-conscious processing. Such processing is not very sustainable but can exert control over other cognitive processes. This paper also discusses possible benefits of regulating cognitive processes this way.

Correspondence should be addressed to Erik J. Wiersma, Alba Biologics, 144 Bowood Ave., Toronto M4N 1Y5, Ontario, Canada. Email: erikwiersma@rogers.com

Accounting for the Specious Present: A Defense of Enactivism
Kaplan Hasanoglu, Emmanuel College

I argue that conscious visual experience is essentially a non-representational demonstration of a skill. The explication and defense of this position depends on both phenomenological and empirical considerations. The central phenomenological claim is this: as a matter of human psychology, it is impossible to produce a conscious visual experience of a mind-independent object that is sufficiently like typical cases, without including concomitant proprioceptive sensations of the sort of extra-neural behavior that allows us to there and then competently detect such objects. I then argue that this view, which is a version of enactivism, best explains the temporality of conscious experience — what is often called the specious present.

Correspondence should be addressed to Kaplan Hasanoglu, Ph.D., Philosophy Department, Emmanuel College, 400 The Fenway, ADM 357, Boston, Massachusetts 02115. Email: hasanogluk@emmanuel.edu

Broken Brains or Flawed Studies? An Update on Leo and Cohen’s Critical Review of ADHD Neuroimaging
Charles Marley, University of Edinburgh, Anna M. O’Leary, University of Edinburgh, and Vasiliki-Aliki Nikopoulou, University of Edinburgh

This systematic review sought to examine neuroimaging results on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) published between 2003 and 2015, paying special attention to the major confound of prior medication use first brought to attention by Leo and Cohen (2003) and subsequently acknowledged in the ADHD literature. Neuroimaging studies comparing children and adolescents with ADHD were identified through searches in Web of Science (BIOSIS, Web of Science Core Collection, MEDLINE), PsychINFO, and EMBASE. All studies focusing on neuroimaging and ADHD were selected for consideration (n=62). Forty studies (64.5%) still included pre-medicated samples despite the confound and eight studies (13%) did not provide information to determine this, leaving only 14 studies with medication-free participants to be analysed. The findings on reported differences in physical systems and in electrical activation between ADHD participants and controls were inconsistent and, in part, short on methodological rigour. Despite technological advances, the current state of research suggests that the understanding of neurobiological underpinnings of ADHD and the significance of that research for individuals diagnosed with ADHD has not advanced since the Leo and Cohen review.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Charles Marley, University of Edinburgh, School of Health in Social Science, Section of Clinical and Health Psychology, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG Scotland. Email: charles.marley@ed.ac.uk

Shamelessness in Jane Austen: The Case of Lady Susan
Richard T. McClelland, Nanaimo, British Columbia

The phenomenology of shame, as well as its adaptive character, is explored from a modern biological point of view. Against this backdrop, an analysis of shamelessness is outlined. Jane Austen’s interest in shamelessness is one instance of her general concern with psychological issues, and pervades her mature novels. Here the focus is on her early exploration in the short epistolary novella Lady Susan. Lady Susan Vernon turns out to be a paradigmatic case of a Machiavellian personality and thus provides an explanatory matrix for shamelessness. Austen also occasions exploration of societal inability to cope well with such personalities. An informational view of culture is provided to help explain the convergence of Austen’s analysis with contemporary empirical psychology.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Prof. Richard T. McClelland, PhD., 4513 Sheridan Ridge Road, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6G3, Canada. Email: richmcc999@gmail.com

Critical Notice

From the Percept to the Mind
Joaquín M. Fuster, University of California at Los Angeles

Book Title: The Sensory Order. In The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 14
Book Author: Viktor J. Vanberg (Editor). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017, 316 pages, $59.40 hardcover.

The Sensory Order is the best known and distinctive of Hayek’s books on theoretical psychology. His book has the undisputable merit of offering a truly prescient account of the role of the nervous system in cognitive functions, notably perception. Now, more than six decades after its publication, this account remains the most plausible exposition of the principles of functional architecture of the cerebral cortex in sensory perception.

Correspondence should be addressed to Joaquín Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., UCLA School of Medicine, Semel Institute, 750 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, California 90095. Email: joaquinf@ucla.edu