Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-x5gtn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-24T21:21:05.963Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

At what timescale does consciousness operate?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 November 2016

Bernhard Hommel
Cognitive Psychology Unit & Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, 2333 AK Leiden, The
Reinout W. Wiers
Department of Psychology, Addiction Development and Psychopathology (ADAPT) Lab, University of Amsterdam, 1018 XA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. r.wiers@uva.nl


While applauding Morsella et al. for linking consciousness to action control, we ask what their theory implies regarding the exact functionality of consciousness and the timescale at which it operates. Does consciousness operate on, and resolve the conflict it emerges from (despite its slowness), or does it operate on future conflicts that it might resolve by externalizing/socializing cognitive control?

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Baars, B. (1988) A cognitive theory of consciousness. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Baumeister, R. F. & Bargh, J. A. (2014) Conscious and unconscious: Toward an integrative understanding of human mental life and action. In: Dual process theories of the social mind, ed. Sherman, J. W., Gawronski, B., & Trope, Y., Ch. 3, pp. 3539. Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Baumeister, R. F. & Masicampo, E. J. (2010) Conscious thought is for facilitating social and cultural interactions: How mental simulations serve the animal–culture interface. Psychological Review 117(3):945–71.Google Scholar
Bowen, S. & Marlatt, A. (2009) Surfing the urge: Brief mindfulness-based intervention for college student smokers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 23(4):666–71.Google Scholar
Dehaene, S., Changeux, J.-P., Naccache, L., Sackur, J. & Sergent, C. (2006) Conscious, preconscious, and subliminal processing: A testable taxonomy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10:204–11.Google Scholar
Hommel, B. (2013) Dancing in the dark: No role for consciousness in action control. Frontiers in Psychology 4, article 380. (Online journal). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00380.Google Scholar
Hommel, B. (in press) Consciousness and action control. In: Handbook of cognitive control, ed. Egner, T.. Wiley.Google Scholar
Kavanagh, D. J., Andrade, J. & May, J. (2005) Imaginary relish and exquisite torture: The elaborated intrusion theory of desire. Psychological Review 112:446–67.Google Scholar
Levitin, D. J. (2014) The organized mind: Thinking straight in the age of information overload. Dutton.Google Scholar
Shariff, A. F., Schooler, J. & Vohs, K. D. (2008) The hazards of claiming to have solved the hard problem of free will. In: Are we free? Psychology and free will, ed. Baer, J., Kaufman, J. C. & Baumeister, R. F., pp. 181204. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Wiers, R. W., Field, M. & Stacy, A. W. (2014) Passion's slave? Cognitive processes in alcohol and drug abuse. In: Oxford handbook of substance use and substance use disorders, vol. 1, ed. Sher, K. J.. Oxford Handbooks Online/Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199381678.013.009. [Published Online, July 2014. Available at:].Google Scholar