Unconscious perceptions

Magical Realist

Valued Senior Member
Most of what we perceive during the day is not conscious. We apparently register thoughts and reactions all day that we are not consciously aware of. Isn't that a strange thought? That the majority of what you observe and record during your day isn't even something you're aware of?

"Unconscious perception is a term used to describe mental impressions that occur beneath the threshold of conscious awareness. Evidence of this type of perception may affect or include sensory, auditory and visual perception. Unconscious perception is the area of consciousness where certain habits may form and is one of many theories of perception

Also referred to as subconscious thought, unconscious perception is often vulnerable to subliminal suggestions. For example, on a hot summer day an individual may see a fleeting photograph of a frozen dessert and, without even consciously paying attention to the photo, develop an increasing desire to go out and purchase that dessert. Even if the conscious mind may attempt to resist that dessert by way of reasoning that it contains too many calories or too much sugar, an unconscious type of perception has taken root and caused that desire to occur.

Other types of perception can also play a part in unconscious impressions. For instance, a certain auditory perception or sensory perception may cause unconscious reactions to stimuli. Researchers who study the psychology of perception have found that of patients rendered unconscious by anaesthesia during surgical processes, some can recall events that occurred during surgery. Since the patient’s mind was placed in a controlled unconscious state during such procedures, it has been concluded that a person’s unconscious perception is responsible for such memories."===http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-unconscious-perception.htm[url]
Google: dichotic listening experiments

different msg texts are played at same time but separately to each ear. You can direct your conscious attention to and fully follow either, especially easy if one is spoken by a woman and the other by a man.

You are not consciously aware of the un-attended msg, but it is being fully processed. If there is a word or phrase in the attended msg that can (in that context) be interpreted in more than one way (For example: The boys got off their bikes and threw some stones at the bank but soon rode away; but in the un-attended msg the context fixes the meaning of the ambigious word a second or so earlier, there is a high probability you will understand it to have that same meaning in the attended msg also. I.e. if the unattended msg has just said: "The boy were hot and decide to go for a swim, leaving their clothes on the river bank.")

This shows that the unattended msg is fully processed in parallel with many things, just that consciousness is a serial "bottle neck" processor.* All sentences have their words looked up in the "lexcon" that stores possible meanings, what role they can play in the sentences (bank can be object or verb) if a verb is it transitive or not, and several other things that let you constructively** understand sentences. After "bank" was unambigiously processed in the unattended text chain, that particular meaning and use had its neural cells strongly activated. Some of that activation is still present second later when the attended text has "bank" - so most of the time you will not think / under stand the boys were throwing stones at building where money is kept.

Response time studies have told us a lot about how the lexcon is organized, but that is another subject.

* This probably evolved as it has survival value, I think. For example if driving behind a truck in central lane of three going same way when its load of bricks falls off. Swerve right and swerve left alternatives and associated consequences are very likely both evaluated in parallel, but only one, not the average, is best. - A serial consciousness thins action choices down to one.

** As you hear some words with several roles and several meaning you unconsciously keep ALL possible developing sentence alternatives active as long as you can, but memory is limited so you may be forced to drop some that seem less probable. Here is an example of "dropping the right alternative" in a perfectly good sentence:

The scared horse raced around the big red barn fell.
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I guess this along the same lines. I read some research about Alzheimer patients and memory. The researchers would show the patients upbeat movies and then hours later ask the patients how they felt and most of them said they felt happy. When they were questioned about events in the movies most did not recall even seeing a movie. When a sad movie was shown the patients would say they felt sad later without knowing why. I think this not only shows how we process information on different levels but this also has some very real world implications. My mother died of Alzheimers and it would have been very easy near the end to think, why visit here when 10 minutes later she won't know I was there, but luckily I read this study and realized she would remember on some level and it would make her happy.
Hi everybody,

To me, unconscious perceptions are necessary to the proper execution of our automatisms, that way, we can execute them while paying attention to the changes that occur around us, which means that we can also learn new automatisms while executing old ones. But we cannot learn more than one at a time, because we cannot concentrate on two new motions at a time, and I think that it is so because it is impossible for any material body to move in two different directions or at two different speeds at a time. To resume, conscious perceptions would be about the changes that did not affect us yet, and unconscious ones would be about the changes that we already dealt with. What do you think of that idea?
During the year sabbatical (with full pay from APL/JHU) I spent in the Cognitive Science Department of JHU then under the direction of Alphonso Caramazza, who now is a department director at Harvard, I spent several days testing a nice old (late 70s) lady who had had a sever parietal stroke, more than 5 years earlier. She sat about a meter from the computer's display screen and said "red" or "green" promptly after (or while) hearing a one second buzz, made by the computer at random intervals. I.e. after the last trial by 10(1+R) seconds, where R was the computer's generated random number between zero and unity.

She was told and basically did, fixate her gaze on a flashing small white cross or dot located at the center of the display. They alternated occasionally, (after a few minutes, at random), and she usually told that she noticed the change, as requested to do. Her accuracy on this was not recorded as these changes were just to help her to keep her gaze fixated at the center of the display.

If R < 0.1 or R > 0.9, then only the buzzer sounded; otherwise either a red or green dot of same size as the center dot, about 1 mm in radius, appeared for one second. The colored dot appeared half way between the center and edge of the display, and equally distant from the top and bottom of the display. If 0.1 < R <0.5 then the single light displayed was red; if 0.5 <R < 0.9 then it was green. The light displayed was on the left side, which was her not perceived side of the world, if 0.1 < R < 0.3 or if 0.5 < R < 0.7 but on the perceived right side if 0.3 < R < 0.5 or if 0.7 < R < 0.9 Thus, in verbal summary, when light was displayed (80% of the buzzer sounding tests) half the time, it was in her perceived visual field and half the time on the other side.

An analysis of the 20% of the no light displayed tests showed about a 5% bias for saying "red." An analysis of the 40% of the tests with light displayed in her not perceived side showed more than 70% accuracy, despite the 5% bias for saying red. In the 40% of test, when she could perceive the light's color, she as correct at least 95% of the time. Thus, clearly the neural processing of the unseen light stimulus was completed not only thru color the V4 cortical region where colors are mainly recognized, but then the "lexicon" was often correctly searched for the name of the stimulating color. I.e. (only?) perceptual experience of seeing the colored dot was absent. It did not "emerge following many stages of neural computation transforms of sensory input stimulation." as is postulated by most cognitive scientists, to be how humans (and other higher animals) achieve perceptions.

The fact that she had no perceptual experience of anything in her left visual field is, in contrast, consistent with the RTS mechanism of perception I advocate. I.e. All perception is of a CREATION of the parietal lobes of the brain. The sensory information from continuously changing external events is projected slightly ahead in time as needed (typically less than 0.2 seconds) to exactly compensate for neural processing delays, so that we have a "real time" understanding of our sensed environment. I.e. the parietal lobes make a normally accurate (no drugs, etc.) Real Time Simulation of the external environment we have sensory information about. The RTS "runs" when we are awake or dreaming, but as we do not actually act on what we perceive in our dreams, evolution has not forced them to be accurate reflections of the external reality. For example, in a dream you may be able to fly or walk thru a fire, etc.

For more details on the RTS, see: http://www.sciforums.com/threads/is...fe-is-it-an-illusion.49127/page-4#post-905778
but that link's post focuses on how free will is possible in a system (machine or human) which is fully controlled / govern by the laws of physics.
We have two hemispheres of the brain. We can consciously use one side at a time, with the other side complementary, but in an unconscious way.

The left brain is differential, while the right brain is integral. Like in calculus, differentiation finds the slope of a curve at a given point. The left side is more concerned with the details of reality. On the other hand, the integration within the right side, finds the area under a curve; generalization. The left brain would pick out a unique face in a crowd; slope, while the right brain integrates and sees generalizations like Asian, Latino, etc.

The right side processes emotions, which are types of generalizations, that can be used in a wide range of situations. For example, love and hate can be induced in a wide range of unique circumstances; area under a large data curve. There are endless scenarios as numerous as people. The specific circumstance for a given induction is the slope of the curve, is processed by the left brain. Subliminal data gathering is often concerned with building data curves for the integration effect of the right brain. It may see all the faces in the crowd, we are not consciously focusing on, to build the asian and latino curve/summation effect.

My mother has Alzheimers. What I have noticed is she appears more conscious in her right brain. The differential left brain, which processes language and notices detail, is less conscious to her because of Alzheimers. She will try to engage emotion because she has more conscious control over the right side of the brain. On other hand, she may try to start a conversation, but will say something that does not make sense; unconscious left brain effect. Other times the unconscious mind will be able to process the left brain so she is coherent. I have learned to use both sides of the brain, so by using my right brain, and letting my unconscious work the left brain, I can translate for her.

What I noticed is Liberalism tends to be more right brained, while Conservative are more left brained. Liberalism is about emotions, feelings and generalizations like all white males are evil. Conservative often appear colder to emotional needs of everyone, but they are better able to reason their POV due to left brain. Conscious left brain makes it much easier to be self reliant.

The unconscious mind operates the left brain of liberals, while the unconscious mind operates the right brain of conservatives. This is why language and language games are so important to liberals. It gives them a sense of control over the left brain unconsciousness. The left brain processes language, with language appearing bigger than life. A person with conscious control over the left brain, see language as a tool and not a magic wand.
The unconscious mind operates the left brain of liberals, while the unconscious mind operates the right brain of conservatives. This is why language and language games are so important to liberals.
Have you completely lost your mind?
I call it subconscious retrieval of excess environmental stimuli. It's everything incidentally picked up in the background our conscious mind hasn't directed our perceptions to focus directly upon. At least, that is my non-professional take.
Many decades ago, there was an interesting experiment using recorded remarks. The remarks included the following (paraphrase, not exact quote)
Governor (a cough is recorded here, not a name) made a campaign speech yesterday in Sacramento.
Almost all adults claimed to have heard Reagan & placed the cough elsewhere in their description of the remark.

Note that the clue to the identity of the speaker occurs at the end of the sentence.

The above clearly indicates that speech is processed at a subconscious level & presented to the conscious mind perhaps 200-500 milliseconds after hearing speech.

Without such processing, a native of Boston might not be able to understand a person with a pronounced southern accent.

When a tune is played, there seems to be no such processing & experiments indicate that a melody is heard & processed in real time. Mistakes by a piano player are almost always noticed as mistakes & not corrected by those familiar with the tune being played.
The above clearly indicates that speech is processed at a subconscious level & presented to the conscious mind perhaps 200-500 milliseconds after hearing speech. Without such processing, a native of Boston might not be able to understand a person with a pronounced southern accent. When a tune is played, there seems to be no such processing & experiments indicate that a melody is heard & processed in real time. Mistakes by a piano player are almost always noticed as mistakes & not corrected by those familiar with the tune being played.

Yes. The non-extremist advocates of direct perception only contend that NOT ALL the responses of the nervous system to sensory input involved processes of understanding beforehand. The function of a chair via its image is thus still dependent upon a brain / body to supply by connection to memory or inference via experimenting with the chair (if it is an unfamiliar item). The "knowledge of the chair's purpose" does not reside outside the skull, abiding in the object itself, carried by light or sound waves or molecules wafting in the air to an observer. So that even a mouse scurrying over its surface would thereby immediately intuit that "this is something humans place their buttocks on or in".

As much as some philosophers and psychologists seem to abhor the idea, the meat inside the skull does do valuable work and is not a large ornament unnecessarily devouring space. It consequently leaves its own manner of prejudices, filters, interpretations, and transformed constructs upon the results of the information it butchers apart and reassembles and integrates with a vast storage bank of past affairs. It is an empirical example of the general idea of a dreaded mediator between "what I believe" and "what is" which traditional certainties, naive realism, and "slippery slope into solipsism phobia" have longed for centuries to flush down the toilet.