A Caltech Library Service

Postdiction: its implications on visual awareness, hindsight, and sense of agency

Shimojo, Shinsuke (2014) Postdiction: its implications on visual awareness, hindsight, and sense of agency. Frontiers in Psychology, 5 . Art. No. 196. ISSN 1664-1078. PMCID PMC3978293.

PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


There are a few postdictive perceptual phenomena known, in which a stimulus presented later seems causally to affect the percept of another stimulus presented earlier. While backward masking provides a classical example, the flash lag effect stimulates theorists with a variety of intriguing findings. The TMS-triggered scotoma together with “backward filling-in” of it offer a unique neuroscientific case. Findings suggest that various visual attributes are reorganized in a postdictive fashion to be consistent with each other, or to be consistent in a causality framework. In terms of the underlying mechanisms, four prototypical models have been considered: the “catch up,” the “reentry,” the “different pathway” and the “memory revision” models. By extending the list of postdictive phenomena to memory, sensory-motor and higher-level cognition, one may note that such a postdictive reconstruction may be a general principle of neural computation, ranging from milliseconds to months in a time scale, from local neuronal interactions to long-range connectivity, in the complex brain. The operational definition of the “postdictive phenomenon” can be applicable to such a wide range of sensory/cognitive effects across a wide range of time scale, even though the underlying neural mechanisms may vary across them. This has significant implications in interpreting “free will” and “sense of agency” in functional, psychophysical and neuroscientific terms.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Additional Information: © 2014 Shimojo. Received: 20 June 2013; Accepted: 20 February 2014; Published online: 31 March 2014. Edited by: Yuki Yamada, Yamaguchi University, Japan. Reviewed by: Takahiro Kawabe, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Japan Talis Bachmann, University of Tartu, Estonia. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. The author has been supported by NIH, NSF, HFSP, JST.ERATO, JST.CREST, and Tamagawa-Caltech gCOE (MEXT). Heal so thanks many colleagues including Kaoru Amano, Jaeseung Jeong, Roman Weber, Yong Jun Lin, Robert Tilford, the editors of this special issue, and the two reviewers for their valuable comments. The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Human Frontier Science ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) ERATOUNSPECIFIED
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) CRESTUNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:postdiction, flash lag, TMS, causality perception, hindsight, freewill, sense of agency
PubMed Central ID:PMC3978293
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140506-073251785
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Shimojo Shinsuke Postdiction : Its implications on visual awareness, hindsight, and sense of agency Frontiers in Psychology V.5, 2014 NUMBER=00196 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00196
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45510
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:06 May 2014 15:45
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:31

Repository Staff Only: item control page