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Rit Effect Essay

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If much of what enters consciousness does so in a reflex-like manner, regardless of whether such contents are a product of high or low level processes, do representations during the process of refreshing behave similarly down stream? If this notion were to be held true, one would expect little to no difference in the reflex-like entry of contents into consciousness from one point in time to another. This phenomenon is worth delving into primarily because decision-making and directed thought frequently carries the connotation of being willful, intentional, and vastly different from what one might experience during the RIT. To test this hypothesis, a variant of the RIT was designed to examine involuntary cognitions moments after the…show more content…
Interestingly, participants fail to suppress such subvocalizations on a vast majority of the trials (e.g., 0.86 in Allen et al., 2013; 0.87 in Cho et al., 2014; and 0.73 in Merrick et al., 2015). In more complex variants of the RIT (Cushing, Gazzaley, & Morsella, 2017), participants would (a) indicate by button press the basic RIT effect and (b) press another button if the involuntary subvocalization rhymed with a word held in mind (e.g., “stir"). Since the act of rhyming requires the retrieval of either the whole object name or, at minimum, the coda of the word, accurate performance ( > .80 mean accuracy across trials) on this rhyming task supports the notion that subjects involuntary experienced such subvocalizations. Though the RIT has revealed many insights, the entry of unintentional contents into consciousness is not fully understood. Correspondingly, the many processes that give rise to the RIT effect are the result of a synergistic cascade. For example, in order for the effect to arise, there first needs to be the induction of an action set (e.g., to not subvocalize the name of visual objects). The final mechanism that results in the RIT effect occurs when the onset of the visual object activates the stages of processing that lead to the action-effect of subvocalizing. It is important to note that, without the activation of the relevant action set, it is unlikely that participants would experience the phonological
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