The Distinction Between Conscious and Unconscious Cognition in David R. Shanks’s Work: A Critical Assessment

Giuseppe Lo Dico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The notion of unconscious finds support in many experimental studies that use the dissociation method. This method allows us to distinguish between conscious and unconscious mental states when par- ticipants cannot explain why they performed as they did in an experiment. The paper will discuss the no- tion of unconscious by considering David R. Shanks’ criticisms of the application of the dissociation method: it will assess three studies Shanks proposes as reexaminations of three other relevant studies in the literature and show how Shanks’ work provides an examination of the methodological pitfalls of such studies. The paper will argue that, although Shanks’s results are relevant regarding theories about the structure of cognition, his theoretical positions are at best confused and at worst diminish the importance of his research outcomes. It will conclude by showing why Shanks’s results that legitimize the role of con- sciousness in cognition can be problematic for the physicalistic or materialistic framework endorsed by cognitive psychologists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalRIVISTA INTERNAZIONALE DI FILOSOFIA E PSICOLOGIA
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Consciousness
  • Coscienza
  • Dissociation Method
  • Dual-Process Theories
  • Inconscio
  • Metodo della Dissociazione
  • Psicologia Cognitiva
  • Teorie del Doppio Processo
  • Unconscious

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