Spring 1999 Midterm Exam


Cognitive Science 102/Psychology 129

Scientific Studies of Consciousness


Spring 1999


Midterm Examination


Answer one (1) question within each of the following categories. This examination is worth 60 points total (30% of the final grade). Bear in mind that this is a midterm examination, and constrain your responses accordingly. You are not expected to write extensive essays, but do write complete sentences, because manner of expression counts as well as sheer content.

Category 1: Introduction and Introspection (15 points)

1. What are sensory qualia and how do they relate to consciousness? What dimensions do all sensory experiences have in common? Pick one sensory modality (e.g., vision, hearing) and list the basic qualities which are specific to that modality. Why are sensory qualia alone insufficient to characterize consciousness?

2. In the Principles of Psychology, James (1890) listed five characteristics of conscious thought. Define each of them briefly. What role does intentionality play in James's definition of consciousness?






Category 2: The Mind-Body Problem (15 points)

1. Define at least four different forms of dualism. From what you have read in Searle's book, in what sense is Chalmers a dualist and what kind of dualist does he seem to be?

2. Define at least four different forms of materialism (or materialistic monism). From what you have read in Searle's book, is Dennett a materialist and what kind of materialist does he seem to be?




Category 3: Automaticity (15 Points)

1. Distinguish between the early-selection and late-selection models of attention. How do "filter" (or "attenuator" theories of attention differ from capacity theories? Briefly discuss the implications of each theory for the concept of subliminal perception.

2. What are the characteristics of automatic processing, as originally articulated by Posner & Snyder (1975), Schneider & Shiffrin (1977), et al? Give an example illustrating each characteristic. How does the concept of automaticity relate to Nisbett & Wilson's (1977) critique of introspection and self-attribution?

Category 4: Implicit Cognition (15 points)

1. What considerations led theorists like Gazzaniga to propose an association between consciousness and the left cerebral hemisphere? What evidence is there, to the contrary, that the right hemisphere has consciousness as well?

2. Distinguish between explicit and implicit expressions of memory, and give an example of each kind of memory task. What evidence shows that these two expressions of memory can be dissociated? How does implicit perception differ from implicit memory?