Poster D114, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
External Control of the Stream of Consciousness: An EEG Study
Wei Dou1, Sabrina Bhangal1, Hyein Cho2, Allison K. Allen3, Zaviera Reyes1, Ezequiel Morsella1,4, Mark W. Geisler1; 1Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, 2Department of Psychology, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, 3Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 4Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco
The Reflexive Imagery Task (RIT) reveals that involuntary cognitions can be systematically elicited by the presentation of external stimuli (Allen et al., 2013). In the basic version of the task, participants are presented with visual objects and instructed to not think of the names of the objects. Involuntary subvocalizations arise on roughly 80% of the trials. In previous RITs, objects were presented only one at a time, thereby not resembling the nature of everyday stimulus scenes. With this in mind, we developed an RIT variant in which two objects are presented simultaneously (6 s), with one object on the left of the screen and one object on the right of the screen. Participants (n = 44) were instructed to not think of any of the names of the objects. Participants indicated that they happened to think of the name of any of the objects on a high proportion of trials (M = .78, SE = .03). In addition, the RIT effect arose for both objects on a considerable proportion of the 38 trials (M = .34, SE = .05), demonstrating the external control of multiple thoughts in the stream of consciousness. In a follow-up study, we investigated the neural correlates of the RIT effect and of the attentional processes associated with this effect. Electroencephalography was recorded from eleven electrode sites (Fz, Cz, Pz, F3, F4, C3, C4, T3, T4, P3, and P4). We focused on the alpha (8-13 Hz), beta (13-30 Hz), gamma (30-150 Hz), and theta (4-8 Hz) frequencies.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Other