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Unconscious Processes

The ease with which we open our eyes and consciously experience the world around us belies the complexity of the underlying neural mechanisms, which remain incompletely understood. Many of these neural mechanisms operate outside of awareness. For example, our conscious perception of an object in the immediate environment, such as this book, must depend on neural processing that acts on the pattern of light incident on the retina and ultimately leads to accurate identification of that pattern of light as representing this book. Yet we have no conscious access to those computations, only to the outcome of the process that somehow results in awareness of an object in the environment. Neural activity must therefore reflect both conscious processes (the outcome of object identification) and unconscious ...

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