Phenomenal and access consciousness in olfaction

Consciousness and Cognition 18 (4):1004-1017 (2009)
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Contemporary literature on consciousness, with some exceptions, rarely considers the olfactory system. In this article the characteristics of olfactory consciousness, viewed from the standpoint of the phenomenal /access distinction, are examined relative to the major senses. The review details several qualitative differences in both olfactory P consciousness and A consciousness . The basis for these differences is argued to arise from the functions that the olfactory system performs and from the unique neural architecture needed to instantiate them. These data suggest, at a minimum, that P and A consciousness are uniquely configured in olfaction and an argument can be made that the P and A distinction may not hold for this sensory system



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