Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2


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Tomkins believed that ""all life is 'affective life,' all behavior, thought, planning, wishing, doing We enjoy what feels good and do what we can to find and maintain more of it; we are inherently biased to minimize negative affect; the system works best when we express all of our affects; and, anything that increases our power to accomplish these goals is good for mental health, anything that reduces this power is bad for mental health.

These nine affects and this blueprint serve as a foundation for much of Tomkins' research and theories discussed in the volumes of ""Affect Imagery Consciousness"".

Tomkins was from Philadelphia, the son of a dentist from Russia. He was short, and slightly thick around the middle, with a wild mane of white hair and huge black plastic-rimmed glasses. He taught psychology at Princeton and Rutgers and was the author of Affect Imagery Consciousness, a four-volume work so dense that its readers were evenly divided between those who understood it and thought it was brilliant and those who did not understand it and thought it was brilliant.

When Tomkins began writing the book in the 's, American psychology was dominated by psychoanalytic and behaviorist theories--neither of which placed much importance on the role of basic emotions in everyday human behavior. Tomkins challenged the status quo by developing--over the span of more than pages--a theory of consciousness and motivation that placed emotion at the core of the human experience. Because so few psychologists were studying emotion at that time, Tomkins drew liberally from other academic disciplines to help formulate his ideas and support his arguments: evolutionary biology, ethology, cybernetics, literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and neurophysiology, among others.


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In the process, Tomkins practically invented the field of ""nonverbal behavior"" through close observation of emotional expressions in people, including his own infant son. His work was a brilliantly eccentric pastiche of ideas that adhered to no strict disciplinary or ideological boundaries.

In time, however, "AIC" came to prominence through the research of his disciples, notably Paul Ekman and Carroll Izzard, who went on to become major researchers in the psychology of emotion.

Emotion (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

This further suggests that the processes of determining a movement path or a route to a target and a target location are imaginative processes that fail to reach conscious awareness. Unconscious imagery thus appears to be an integral part of vision for action, suggesting a partially shared mechanism for these two domains.

The theory of mental imagery originally presented by Kosslyn , p. In the cases Kosslyn describes, there is evidently also a conscious element. When we are asked to count the number of windows in a room, for example, there is a conscious representation of parts of the room. This activity seems to involve processes below the level of conscious awareness.


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For example, estimating the length we need to travel to get from one window to the next within the image involves subpersonal processes. This hypothesis does not explain other crucial parts of the model. For example, it does not explain why we should believe that visual imagery is quasi-pictorial. We turn to this question next. On the enactive view, perceptual experience cannot be understood as an internal representation of the perceived environment, but must be understood in terms of knowledge of the actions involved in perceiving the environment.

Seeing an object, for example, involves a kind of knowledge of all the ways the shape changes when we move around it or it moves relative to us. On the enactive view, the phenomenology of visual experience is constituted by the exercise of our knowledge of these kinds of sensorimotor contingencies.

However, the phenomenology of imagery is impoverished compared to visual experience as a result of the absence of an external stimulus. The difference between visual experience and visual imagery, on this view, is that visual experience is constrained by the external environment, whereas visual imagery is constrained by memory processes. The constraining factors may explain the different neural correlates underlying the two domains. Yet hallucinatory experience can have a phenomenology that is just as vivid and pictorial as perceptual experience Brogaard, ; Brogaard and Gatzia, This is the feeling that one is the agent of the imagistic activity.

This sense of effort is what distinguishes imagery from hallucination and to some extent also veridical perceptual experience. Moreover, there is an independent challenge facing the enactive approach to perception and visual imagery. As Block has argued, on the assumption that sensorimotor know-how is a kind of know-how of visually-guided action, the enactive dogma cannot easily account for the phenomenology of visual experience.

Block points to a study by Goodale and Murphy who demonstrated that subjects can effortlessly reach to an object and grasp it even when it appears blurry. At 70, subjects visually represented the blocks blurrily and found it hard to distinguish them but had no difficulty reaching to and grasping the blocks. This demonstrates that we can grasp objects even when they are hardly visible. These findings indicate that whatever lies beneath our representations of the online action we are about to perform cannot be what lies beneath perceptual experience, because representations of anticipated online action are largely unconscious, whereas perceptual experience by definition is conscious.

For example, one study that looked at the mental representations underlying motor imagery and corresponding action in a subject CW with lesions to bilateral parietal areas found that when imagining movements of his hands, CW executed the imagined movements in the absence of conscious awareness Schwoebel et al.

The argument in the previous section provides further evidence against the enactive view, whether construed as an account of perception or imagery. Likewise, Bartolomeo may be right that sensorimotor know-how is also required in order for imaginative experience to occur. Neither observation, however, gives us good reason to think that sensorimotor know-how is constitutive of or explanatory of the phenomenology of perception or imagery.

Since the dorsal-stream representations underlying both domains are inaccessible to consciousness, they can at best be part of the perceptual or imaginative mechanisms responsible for generating conscious perceptual or imaginative experiences. Just like the processes taking place in LGN or the primary visual cortex, which ultimately lead to a conscious experience, are not constitutive of the phenomenology of the experience, so sensorimotor know-how need not be constitutive of the phenomenology of experience. For example, in the case of amodal completion, partially occluded figures such as the polygon in the middle in Figure 1 are not perceived as the fragments of the foregrounded figures.

Rather, they are perceived as concealed or masked by the occluder. Visual processes seem to be modulated by intra-perceptual principles, which facilitate the completion of the concealed parts of the occluded figures Figure 1. Kanizsa amodal completion. Although the flanking octagons should increase the likelihood of the occluded figure in the middle being a regular octagon, the occluded figure is not seen as such Pylyshyn These intra-perceptual principles are not consciously accessible rational principles e.

The visual system employs them to compensate for the inherent ambiguity of proximal stimuli. In Figure 1 , the presence of the outermost regular octagons should increase the likelihood that the occluded figure is also a regular octagon. But the principles of amodal completion are executed on the basis of their own algorithms, and the occluded figure is not experienced as a regular octagon.

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Intra-perceptual principles work below the level of conscious awareness and are likely inaccessible to consciousness even in principle, so they occur at a subpersonal level. Accordingly, they are not constitutive components of perceptual experience. If conscious imagery is indeed quasi-pictorial but fails to have the same neural substrate as perception, what explains its vivid perception-like phenomenology?

It is commonly accepted that the encoding and retrieval of episodic imagistic memory and the maintenance of imagistic working memory consists in a reinstatement of activity in the neural circuits that originally processed the perceptual stimuli Gazzaley et al.

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The information from the various neural circuits are then integrated to form the memory representation. The reinstatement hypothesis extends to other forms of imagery such as daydreaming and imagination that integrate memory fragments in novel ways Lyons, ; Kosslyn, ; Hassabis et al. Initial appearances to the contrary, the reinstatement hypothesis is indeed consistent with the double dissociation between the visual and the imagistic domains. As noted above, whereas perception proceeds primarily via bottom—up processing, imagery proceeds primarily via top—down processing.

It is to be expected, therefore, that dissociations of bottom—up and top—down processing in a single visual system that governs both mental imagery and perception can occur Shuren et al. Consider double dissociation between color perception and color imagery. There are reports of individuals with color vision but no color imagery De Vreese, Conversely, cases have been described in which patients with achromatopsia cannot perceive color but are nonetheless able to visualize color Shuren et al.

If a lesion to the system impacts top—down re-activation but not bottom—up processing, on the other hand, then color vision may be preserved but color imagery will be impaired.

This represents a limitation of double dissociation studies as a cornerstone in arguments against the pictorial model of mental images. These studies do not necessarily show that there is no overlap of neural substrates but only that there is not a full overlap of mechanisms. What explains the pictorial phenomenology of visual imagery, then, is that it is processed in visual systems that also process matching visual experience. This raises the question of why the phenomenology is impoverished. Although some evidence seems to suggest that the primary visual cortex is crucial in both visual perception and conscious imagination see Cattaneo et al.

Blindsight studies have shed light on the importance of the primary visual cortex V1 in processing brightness awareness of luminance. Blindsight is the result of lesions to V1 which give rise to a region of blindness a scotoma in the visual field Poppel et al. Subjects with this condition do not acknowledge being aware of visual stimuli that are shown in their blind hemifield. They are, however, capable of making correct guesses about features of visual stimuli shown to them when they are forced to guess what is in front of their eyes.

Studies have shown that blindsight subjects tend to make above-chance discriminations of various features, including their wavelength, location, motion, and form, of visual stimuli they report being visually unaware of Weiskrantz and Stoerig and Cowey Blindsight was originally considered to be the possession of residual visual abilities in the absence of acknowledged visual awareness. However, recent findings indicate that some blindsight subjects have residual conscious awareness in their affected hemifield in spite of extensive V1 lesions.

Nevertheless, these subjects are still considered blindsight subjects because they have residual vision for stimuli features they are not aware of. There is often a positive correlation between such residual awareness and the abilities of these subjects to make above-chance discriminations see Barbur et al.

A division of blindsight into types 1 and 2 has resulted from the observation that some blindsight patients have residual visual awareness Weiskrantz, a , b. In type 2 blindsight subjects with damage in the primary visual cortex V1 have some residual visual awareness, although they are unaware of most of the features of objects presented to them.

Works Cited

Verbal reports clearly indicate that the phenomenology of type 2 blindsight and normal visual experience is radically different Stoerig and Barth, ; Weiskrantz, ; Ffytche and Zeki, To trigger a reasonable match the researchers needed to present a moving low-contrast texture to the sighted hemifield and a moving luminance-defined bar to the blind hemifield. The fact that dissimilar stimuli had to be presented to the sighted and the blind hemifields to ensure a match strongly indicates that different attributes of the stimulus enter the brain from the sighted and the blind hemifields or that the brain processes the same attributes differently.

This suggests that the phenomenology of normal visual experience and experience in type 2 blindsight are fundamentally different. The reason type 2 blindsight is categorically different from ordinary visual experience is likely that type 2 blindsight is the result of processing in an atypical visual pathway that bypasses the primary visual cortex V1. The perceived luminance of a stimulus in his intact field, by contrast, seems to originate in the normal visual pathway which includes V1.

This would enable GY to compare stimuli that are presented in the opposite fields. When the stimuli are presented to opposite fields, however, the distinct pathways would yield different kinds of percepts making matching difficult.

Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2 Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2
Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2 Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2
Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2 Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2
Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2 Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2
Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2 Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2
Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2 Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2
Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2 Affect Imagery Consciousness: The Complete Edition: Two Volumes: v. 1 and 2

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