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Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?$
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Susan Pockett, William P. Banks, and Shaun Gallagher

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780262162371

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262162371.001.0001

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Consciousness of Action as an Embodied Consciousness

Consciousness of Action as an Embodied Consciousness

(p.25) 2 Consciousness of Action as an Embodied Consciousness
Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?

Marc Jeannerod

The MIT Press

People generally remain unaware of many of their own actions, in part because, even when an action is consciously executed, its memory trace does not last long and is thus quickly forgotten. Some actions are executed automatically and others under conscious control. This chapter examines actions that are executed automatically to understand why and how a given action does or does not become conscious. It looks at evidence showing that ongoing actions are primarily controlled unconsciously by the brain, with the subject’s consciousness being kept informed only after the event, and then more as a professional courtesy than anything else. After considering consciousness of the goal, the chapter focuses on one’s awareness of how a movement is performed. It then compares automaticity and conscious control of an action and describes a possible neural model for consciousness of action. Finally, it comments on the classical Two Williams Debate pitting Wilhelm Wundt against William James.

Keywords:   action, consciousness, brain, neural model, goal, movement, automaticity, conscious control, Wilhelm Wundt, William James

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