Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Betting the house on consciousness

Studying consciousness is difficult because asking subjects to report their awareness of a stimulus perturbs that awareness. A new paper shows that asking subjects to wager on whether their response is correct can solve this problem.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: A conventional psychometric curve (blue), linking some stimulus parameter in a binary task to performance.


  1. Merikle, P.M. Am. Psychol. 47, 792–795 (1992).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Kunimoto, C., Miller, J. & Pashler, H. Conscious. Cogn. 10, 294–340 (2001).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Peirce, C.S. & Jastrow, J. Mem. Nat. Acad. Sci. 3, 73–83 (1884).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Kolb, F.C. & Braun, J. Nature 377, 336–338 (1995).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Morgan, M.J., Mason, A.J.S. & Solomon, J.A. Nature 385, 401–402 (1997).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Persaud, N., McLeod, P. & Cowey, A. Nat. Neurosci. 10, 257–261 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Maia, T.V. & McClelland, J.L. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101, 16075–16080 (2004).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Crick, F. & Koch, C. Nature 375, 121–123 (1995).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Sergent, C. & Dehaene, S. Psychol. Sci. 15, 720–728 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Koch, C., Preuschoff, K. Betting the house on consciousness. Nat Neurosci 10, 140–141 (2007).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing