Below are publications of a number of types.

I've listed articles in DRAFT form, but they cannot be downloaded in the site.

If you would like a copy of draft material, please contact me, Kathleen Akins.

Some of these 'drafts' have been given only as the powerpoint slides for papers given. But if you would like the Powerpoint slides, again please write to me.


NEW!! Drafts section

"Rethinking Neonate Imitation: Tongue Protrusion in Context." Keven Nazim, Kathleen Akins, Lyle Crawford.

Abstract: Twenty-five years old, Meltzoff and Moore (1977) published their famous article ‘Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates’. Since then, the authors’ results and conclusions have generated much considerable controversy about the existence neonatal imitation. We examine a single gesture, tongue protrusion, given the significant, statistical evidence that neonates imitate this gesture. Here we adopt a novel perspective: A review of the neurophysiology of spontaneous tongue protrusion and, more generally, the role of sub-cortical motor control of the tongue in the perinatal developmental of aerodigestion. Following Thelen’s terminology (1988), we re-cast tongue protrusion as a spontaneous rhythmical stereotypy, one that likely plays a role in neural path finding during the perinatal period. Our suggestion does not logically preclude the possibility that neonates can imitate tongue protrusion. But seeing spontaneous tongue protrusion in the context the neurophysiology of neonatal suckling, respiration and swallowing makes Meltzoff and Moore’s claims far less plausible. We also suggest that, despite good prima facie evidence for the imitation of this gesture, tongue protrusion is likely an effect of general arousal or of the internal state/s of the neonate that normally affect rhythmical perinatal movements.

'Colour Perception' (co-authored with Martin Hahn) an entry for Mohan Matthen's forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception.

'A Comparative Study of Synaesthesia in Czech and English Speakers', Kathleen Akins, Marcus Watson, Lyle Crawford. This is the first article out of the SFU/Charles University survey on synaesthesia. We compare the incidence of synaesthesia in the two populations.

'The Role of Learning in Synaesthesia ' with Marcus Watson and Lyle Crawford.

'Homongenous Pink' Jason Leardi and Kathleen Akins


Published Articles

"Black and White and Colour". Phenomenology and the Neurophilosophy of Consciousness. Richard Brown, editor. Studies in Brain and Mind. Springer Verlag. Forthcoming. This paper is available in draft form HERE. The FIGURES for this paper are available HERE. Please do not copy or quote.

ABSTRACT. The distinction between ‘black and white’ and ‘colour’ comes from the realm of public objects: a black and white photograph represents only the intensity information reflected from the scene whereas a colour photograph contains wavelength information as well. The difference between a black and white and a colour photograph is just the addition of hue and saturation, or wavelength information, to the intensity image. It is often assumed, on this basis, that visual systems follow a similar divide: a luminance system encodes intensity information and a chromatic system brings wavelength information to the table. It therefore seems natural to conclude that a rod achromat, who has only one type of photoreceptor and hence only luminance vision, must see the world ‘in black and white’. And hence what the rod achromat lacks, and what the trichromat has, are just ‘the colours’. In this paper, I try to untangle the various assumptions that are made above, starting with the difference between a luminance and a chromatic system. Strangely, given only a luminance system, the rod achromatic’s visual experience is also tied to wavelength differences in the world even if the achromat’s does not differentiate between intensity and wavelength differences in the world. Nor can the achromat make objective assessments about the darkness or lightness of objects, despite seeing, as has been said, ‘in black and white’. In the end, the distinction between ‘black and white’ and ‘colour’ does not map smoothly onto the distinction between luminance and chromatic systems—and, as a result, we must rethink the differences in visual phenomenology between a rod achromat and a trichromat, as well as our understanding of what a system for object colour or object lightness and darkness adds to any visual system.

"More than Mere Colouring: The Role of Spectral Information in Human Vision." Akins, K. and Hahn, M. British Journal of Philosophy of Science. In press. This paper is available in draft form HERE.Please do not copy or quote.

ABSTRACT. A common view in both philosophy and the vision sciences is that, in human vision, wavelength information is primarily ‘for’ colouring, for seeing surfaces and various media as having colours. In this article we examine this assumption of ‘colour-for-colouring’. To motivate the need for an alternative theory, we begin with three major puzzles from neurophysiology, puzzles that are not explained by the standard theory. We then ask about the role of wavelength information in vision writ large. How might wavelength information be used by any monochromat or dichromat and, finally, by a trichromatic primate with object vision? We suggest that there is no single ‘advantage’ to trichromaticity but a multiplicity, only one of which is the ability to see surfaces, etc. as having categorical colours. Instead, the human trichromatic retina exemplifies a scheme for a general encoding of wavelength information given the constraints imposed by high spatial-resolution object vision. Chromatic vision, like its’ partner, luminance vision, is primarily for seeing. Viewed this way, the ‘puzzles’ presented at the outset make perfect sense.

"Grapheme-color synaesthesia benefits rule-based category learning". Watson, M., Blair, M., Kozik, P., Akins, K. & Enns, J.T. Consciousness and Cognition. In Press. Available online July 2, 2012. Watson, Blair et al.pdf

ABSTRACT. Researchers have long suspected that grapheme-color synaesthesia is useful, but research on its utility has so far focused primarily on episodic memory and perceptual discrimination. Here we ask whether it can be harnessed during rule-based Category learning. Participants learned through trial and error to classify grapheme pairs that were organized into categories on the basis of their associated synaesthetic colors. The performance of synaesthetes was similar to non-synaesthetes viewing graphemes that were physically colored in the same way. Specifically, synaesthetes learned to categorize stimuli effectively, they were able to transfer this learning to novel stimuli, and they falsely recognized grapheme-pair foils, all like non-synaesthetes viewing colored graphemes. These findings demonstrate that synaesthesia can be exploited when learning the kind of material taught in many classroom settings.

"Second-order mappings in grapheme-color synesthesia". Watson, M., Akins,K. & Enns, J. Psychonomics Bulletin and Review 19(2), 211-217, 2012. Watson, Akins et al.pdf

ABSTRACT. Typically, the search for order in grapheme–color synesthesia has been conducted by looking at the frequency of certain letter–color associations. Here, we report stronger associations when second-order similarity mappings are examined—specifically, mappings between the synesthetic colors of letters and letter shape, frequency, and position in the alphabet. The analyses demonstrate that these relations are independent of one other. More strikingly, our analyses show that each of the letter–color mappings is restricted to one dimension of color, with letter shape and ordinality linked to hue, and letter frequency linked to luminance. These results imply that synesthetic associations are acquired as the alphabet is learned, with associations involving letter shape, ordinality, and frequency being made independently and idiosyncratically. Because these mappings of similarity structure between domains (letters and colors) are similar to those found in numerous other cognitive and perceptual domains, they imply that synesthetic associations operate on principles common to many aspects of human cognition.

"The Developmental Learning Hypothesis of Synaesthesia". Watson, M., Akins,K. & Crawford,L. Studie z aplikovane lingvistiky/Studies in Applied LInguistics. Vol 1, No. 1, 2010. The DLH.pdf

"The Multiple Drafts Theory of Consciousness". Co-authored with Daniel Dennett.  Article Curator (in the event of death of the theory's inventor, the curator is charged with making any changes or amendments) For Scholarpedia, the on-line peer reviewed encyclopedia. 2007.

"A Question of Content: Parts I & II", in Daniel Dennett, Andrew Brook and Don Ross, editors. Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 206-248. A Question of Content

"More Than Mere Coloring: A Dialog Between Philosophy and Neuroscience on the Nature of Spectral Vision", in Carving our Destiny, S. Fitzpatrick and J. T. Breur, editors. Joseph Henry Press: Washington, D.C. 2001. McDonnell Paper.pdf

"The Peculiarity of Colour", with Martin Hahn, in  Color Perception: Philosophical, Psychological, Artistic and Computational Perspectives. Steven Davis, Editor, Vancouver Studies in Cognitive Science, Volume IX, 2000. Peculiarity

"Ships in the Night: Churchland and Ramachandran on Dennett's Theory of Consciousness", (co-authored with Steven J. Winger) in Vancouver Series in Cognitive Science: Problems in Perception, vol. 5. (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 1996. Ships in The Night

"Of Sensory Systems and the 'Aboutness' of Mental States", The Journal of Philosophy, vol XCIII, no. 7, pp. 337-372, July 1996.
"Lost the Plot? Reconstructing Daniel Dennett's Multiple Drafts Theory of Consciousness", Mind and Language, Vol. II, No. 1, pp.1-43, 1996. Of Sensory Systems.pdf

"Lost the Plot? Reconstructing Daniel Dennett's Multiple Drafts Theory of Consciousness", Mind and Language, Vol II, No. 1, pp. 1-43. 1996. Lost the Plot.pdf

"A Bat Without Qualities", in Consciousness, M. Davies and G. Humphreys eds. (Oxford: Blackwells), pp. 258-73, 1993.A Bat Without Qualities

ABSTRACT. Thomas Nagel has claimed, famously, that we could never understand the point of view, the perceptual experience, of the bat, even if we knew all there was to know about the neurophysiology and behaviour of the bat. Nagel offers a number of reasons why this should be but here I look at the intuitive pull that Nagel’s argument exerts upon us. Intuitively, it is hard to see how any description—of neurophysiological states, behaviors or even one’s own first person recounting of perceptual event—could convey the very feel of a event described, at least not without having experienced the same event oneself. Yet if we cannot convey to others even very simple qualitative states There is a difference between the qualitative and the representational/neurophysiological aspects of experience, and science can describe only the latter. This paper tries to up-end the assumption that we have a grasp of the difference between the representational and qualitative aspects of experience. Given very simple perceptual situations, e.g. hearing middle C or seeing a red patch of light on a white wall, such a distinction seems imaginable. Given a more complex perceptual scene, however, we can neither ‘gesture towards’ nor explain what it would be to have a perceptual experience as non-intentional or ‘purely qualitative’. Our intuition that we can so separate our perceptual experience into two aspects is illusory—and hence there is little reason to think that we know what would and would not be explained if we had extensive neurophysiological/behavioural/functional knowledge.

"What is it LIke to Be Boring and Myopic?" in Daniel Dennett and His Critics, ef. B. Dahlbom (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 124-60.1993. Boring & Myopic

"Science and Our Inner Lives: Birds of Prey, Bats and the (Common) Featherless Bi-ped", in Interpretation and Explanation in Behavior, vol. I, edited by M. Beckoff and D. Jamieson, Boulder: Westview Press, 1990. Birds, Bats....

Reprinted Articles

"Of Sensory Systems and the 'Aboutness' of Mental States".  Reprinted in The Neurophilosophy Reader, W. Bechtel, R. Stufflebeam, J. Mundale, and P. Mandick, eds. MIT Press, 2001.

"A Bat Without Qualities". Reprinted in Consciousness, F. Jackson editor. (Aldershot, England: Ashgate). pp.178-196, 1998.

"Of Sensory Systems and the 'Aboutness' of Mental States" Reprinted in The Philosopher's Annual, 1997, Patrick Grim ed.

"A Bat Without Qualities", Reprinted in Readings in Animal Cognition, D. Jamieson and M. Beckoff eds. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).pp 345-358, 1996.


Edited Books

Cognition and the Brain: The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement. A. Brook and K. Akins, editors. (Cambridge, UK:Cambridge University Press) 2005.For the introduction, index and list of contributiors, click Cognition and the Brain

Vancouver Series in Cognitive Science:  Perception, vol. 5. (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 1996. For Table of Contents, Contributor Information and Introduction, click Perception


Published Commentaries

"More than mere coloring:The art of spectral vision", with John Lamping, a commentary on E. Thomposon, A. Palacios and F. Varela "Ways of coloring: Comparative color vision as a case study in cognitive science". The Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 1992, 15 (1) pp. 26-27. HERE

"Just Science?", wit M. E. Windham, a commentary on R. Thornhill and N.W. Thornhill's "The Evolutionary Psychology of Men's Coercive Sexuality". The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1992,15 (2) pp. 376-77. HERE

"Who May I say is Calling?", with D.C. Dennett, a commentary on R. Hoffman's "Verbal Hallucinations and Language Production Processes", The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol 9 (3). pp. March 1986. pp. 517-518 HERE


Book Reviews

Review of John Taylor's The Race for Consciousness, co-authored with Michal Arciszewski, Trends in Neuroscience, Vol.23, No.12 (270), pp.648-9. HERE

Review of Michael Tye's The Imagery Debate. The Philosophical Review, vol. 103, 1994. pp. 172-174. HERE

Review of Patricia S. Churchland's Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Approach to the Mind/Brain. in The Journal of Philosophy, March 1990, pp. 93 - 102. HERE

Review of Andy Clark's Microcognition: Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Parallel Distributed Processing. in The Quarterly Review of Biology, December 1990, p. 526. HERE