Novelty, not integration: Finding the function of conscious awareness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The possible functions of conscious awareness have been a matter of controversy among scientists and philosophers for centuries. While some view consciousness as an epiphenomenon with no causal role in human behavior, others stipulate that high-level cognitive functions cannot be performed without consciousness. More specifically, they view consciousness as an integrating mechanism that conjoins different types of information into a unified percept or idea. In this chapter we review the different theories in the field, and present empirical evidence for integration between object and background in the absence of conscious perception. Our data suggest that conscious awareness is not necessary for integration but is called upon when facing a conceptually novel situation or scene.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsciousness
Subtitle of host publicationIts Nature and Functions
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781620810965
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Consciousness
  • Continuous flash suppression
  • Epiphenomenalism
  • Functions
  • Integration
  • Novelty

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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