Seminar Series

"Unnoticed Seeing"

There is now substantial evidence for preserved, and sometimes surprisingly rich, representations in some forms of 'change blindness'. But what does this mean for the elusive topic of conscious seeing? Do we visually experience, at the time of encounter, the elements that later surface in experiments revealing preserved representations, or were they merely registered in some non-conscious manner? Drawing on recent work by Fred Dretske, I shall argue that not only do we encode more than it sometimes appears, but that we experience more than we sometimes notice that we experience. Such a view can seem empirically puzzling. How can we demonstrate that experience outruns a subject's capacity to notice what they are experiencing? And if we can show this, or at any rate make it plausible that this is so, what does this tell us about the nature of conscious perceptual experience?