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Trends Cogn Sci. 2015 Dec;19(12):757-770. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.10.002. Epub 2015 Nov 13.

No-Report Paradigms: Extracting the True Neural Correlates of Consciousness.

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School of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Biomedical and Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia; Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia. Electronic address:
Department of Cognitive Neurology, University Medicine Goettingen, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, 37075 Goettingen, Germany; German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Goettingen, Germany; German Research Foundation (DFG) Center for Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB), Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, 37073 Goettingen, Germany.
Laboratory for Multimodal Neuroimaging (LMN), Department of Psychiatry, University of Marburg, 35039 Marburg, Germany.
Brain and Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC), The Netherlands.


The goal of consciousness research is to reveal the neural basis of phenomenal experience. To study phenomenology, experimenters seem obliged to ask reports from the subjects to ascertain what they experience. However, we argue that the requirement of reports has biased the search for the neural correlates of consciousness over the past decades. More recent studies attempt to dissociate neural activity that gives rise to consciousness from the activity that enables the report; in particular, no-report paradigms have been utilized to study conscious experience in the full absence of any report. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of report-based and no-report paradigms, and ask how these jointly bring us closer to understanding the true neural basis of consciousness.


access; attention; awareness; consciousness; introspection; report

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