Is conscious awareness needed for all working memory processes?
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David Soto, Juha Silvanto; Is conscious awareness needed for all working memory processes?. Neurosci Conscious 2016; 2016 (1): niw009. doi: 10.1093/nc/niw009
Stein and colleagues argue there is no yet conclusive evidence for nonconscious working memory (WM) and that is critical to probeWMwhile ensuring null sensitivity to memory cues. While this stringent approach reduces the likelihood of nonconscious signaling for WM, we discuss existing work meeting this null sensitivity criteria, and, related work on nonconscious cognition in keeping with WM/awareness dissociations on the basis of a functional operational definition of WM. Further, because it is likely thatWMis a nonunitary functional construct and visual awareness a gradual phenomenon, we propose that delineating the neural mechanisms for distinctWMtypes across different levels of awareness may prove the most fruitful approach for understanding the interplay betweenWM and consciousness.