On Consciousness in Syntactic Learning and Judgment. A Reply to Reber, Allen, and Regan

Don E. Dulany, Richard A. Carlson, Gerald I. Dewey

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In this article we examine Reber, Allen, and Regan's (1985) commentary on our analysis of consciousness and abstraction in a case of syntactical learning and judgment (Dulany, Carlson, & Dewey, 1984). We reject their methodological criticism; it is not recall, but assessment at the moment of judgment, that maximizes the validity of reports of rules in consciousness at many moments of judgment. Furthermore, as our computer simulations show, if subjects' reports were merely guessed justifications of unconsciously controlled judgments, the obtained relation of rules to judgments is an event so deviant as to be expected about once in 10 billion occasions. In addition, we discuss a number of broader issues raised by our analysis and their response: judgment after early learning and after automatization, correlated grammars and consciousness, the scope and mental abstractness of rules, conscious and unconscious control, and intuition. Although Reber et al. raise questions that should be examined, we find no reason to revise the interpretation of our experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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