Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Modelling the simultaneous encoding/serial experience theory of the perceptual moment: a blink of meta-experience

Bowman, Howard, Jones, William, Pincham, Hannah, Fleming, Steve, Cleeremans, Axel, Smith, Murray (2022) Modelling the simultaneous encoding/serial experience theory of the perceptual moment: a blink of meta-experience. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2022 (1). ISSN 2057-2107. (doi:10.1093/nc/niac003) (KAR id:104569)


One way to understand a system is to explore how its behaviour degrades when it is overloaded. This approach can be applied to understanding conscious perception by presenting stimuli in rapid succession in the ‘same’ perceptual event/moment. In previous work, we have identified a striking dissociation during the perceptual moment, between what is encoded into working memory [Lag-1 sparing in the attentional blink (AB)] and what is consciously perceived (Lag-1 impairing in the experiential blink). This paper links this dissociation to what, taking inspiration from the metacognition literature, could be called meta-experience; i.e. how the ability to track and comment on one’s visual experience with subjectivity ratings reflects objective performance. Specifically, we provide evidence that the information (in bits) associated with an encoding into working memory decouples from the experiential reflection upon that perceptual/encoding event and that this decoupling is largest when there is the greatest perceptual overload. This is the meta-experiential blink. Meta-experiential self-observation is common to many computational models, including connectionist interpretations of consciousness, Bayesian observers and the readout-enhanced simultaneous type/serial token (reSTST) model. We assess how our meta-experiential blink data could be modelled using the concept of self-observation, providing model fits to behavioural and electroencephalogram responses in the reSTST model. We discuss the implications of our computational modelling of parallel encoding but serial experience for theories of conscious perception. Specifically, we (i) inform theories of Lag-1 sparing during the AB and (ii) consider the implications for the global workspace theory of conscious perception and higher-order theories of consciousness.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/nc/niac003
Uncontrolled keywords: meta-cognition; perceptual moment; meta-experience; simultaneous encoding/ serial experience; attentional blink; blink of bits; experiential blink; meta-experiential blink
Subjects: N Visual Arts
T Technology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Murray Smith
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2024 12:19 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 12:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Bowman, Howard.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:

Jones, William.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:

Smith, Murray.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.