Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | November 25, 2012

Reading and doing arithmetic nonconsciously

Asael Y. SklarNir Levy , Ariel GoldsteinRoi MandelAnat Maril, and Ran R. Hassin, Reading and doing arithmetic nonconsciously, Published online before print November 12, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1211645109,   PNAS November 12, 2012


The modal view in the cognitive and neural sciences holds that consciousness is necessary for abstract, symbolic, and rule-following computations. Hence, semantic processing of multiple-word expressions, and performing of abstract mathematical computations, are widely believed to require consciousness. We report a series of experiments in which we show that multiple-word verbal expressions can be processed outside conscious awareness and that multistep, effortful arithmetic equations can be solved unconsciously. All experiments used Continuous Flash Suppression to render stimuli invisible for relatively long durations (up to 2,000 ms). Where appropriate, unawareness was verified using both objective and subjective measures. The results show that novel word combinations, in the form of expressions that contain semantic violations, become conscious before expressions that do not contain semantic violations, that the more negative a verbal expression is, the more quickly it becomes conscious, and that subliminal arithmetic equations prime their results. These findings call for a significant update of our view of conscious and unconscious processes.

See a popular exposition in New Scientist.


  1. HE MATHEMATICAL SECRET OF THE UNIVERSE. The patterns you are looking at were created using only straight lines. As the straight lines are extended, the patterns are repeated, infinitely. These patterns are extremely complex. They represent a thought process, a consciousness, that exist apart from, and therefore before time and space existed. They existed and grew before the sun warmed the earth, before the big bang occurred, the theorized event that created all the matter that forms our universe, our bodies and our minds. These patterns, of course, still exist. We are immersed in them, everything is. They created us, they created time, they created space and matter.  Now, for the first time, you can see them. Now you can see the thought patterns that existed before and apart from space, before and apart from time, before, and apart from, yet creating, the billions of years calculated since the big bang event, the event that created all and everything. ENJOY. Share them with a friend. And, as you look at them, THINK, as the STRAIGHT LINES are EXTENDED, FOR INFINITY, THESE INTRICATE PATTERNS REPEAT. They grow upwards and outwards in a place that has no time, no space. Or, are these patterns what caused time and space in the first place? THEY ARE! — THE MATHEMATICAL SE/Users/jamessouther/Desktop/001.jpgCRET OF THE UNIVERSE. BLUEPRINTS OF CREATION (6 p


  2. Check it out on my album, The Mathematical Secret of the Universe, Blueprint of Creation, on my Facebook page, JimSouther

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