The 'I'-tag theory of perception, memory and consciousness
The distinction between explicit and implicit psychological performance is held to arise as a consequence of differences in self-related processing. In the former, outputs from sensory and memory activity gain ready access to a model of self, referred to here as 'I'. Implicit performance comes about when activity is isolated from 'I' for pathological, or other, reasons. Under normal, explicit circumstances the model of 'I' constructed at a given time is stored in association with representations of concurrent thoughts or percepts. This memory model of' I' is referred to as an 'T'-tag, and is hypothesised to function in subsequent recall. Evidence for the above is drawn from neuropsychological data relating to the implicit/explicit distinction in terms of differential brain systems, and from introspective data concerning the characteristics of conscious processes. Studies of a variety of brain-damaged patients suggest a distinction between decrements in direct stimulus- or motor-related processing and compromised availability of material to consciousness. It is argued here that the latter are consequent on problems in the interpretations of direct processing, specifically those normally involving 'I' as the putative receiver of impressions, controller of memory recollection, and instigator of actions. The Buddhist philosophy of mind analyses the nature of self and details the stages operating in processes of thought and perception. In particular, the notion of'l' implied in the foregoing description is stated to be illusory. The alternative view, that'!' arises as a conditioned association and is without substantive continuity, is supportive of the 'I'-tag concept. The 'I'-tag theory is further developed through an analysis of the stages of perception as detailed in Buddhist thought. Finally, the theory is employed to advance a possible psychological interpretation of a strand of Jewish mysticism in which an artificial anthropoid the golem-was said to be created through linguistic techniques.