-Cognitive Feelings: Remembering, Familiarity, and Knowing
When a specific autobiographical memory comes to mind then a rememberer has ‘recollective experience.’ That is, they experience remembering consciously and have what has been termed ‘autonoetic consciousness.’ Typically images enter conscious awareness, often visual in nature, attention turns inward, other highly specific knowledge may also feature too, and there is a strong sense of the self in the past. Additionally there is a distinct ‘feeling of remembering’; a feeling that what is in consciousness is a memory. Such feelings are part of a class of mental experience that have been termed ‘cognitive feelings.’ Cognitive feelings let us experience our mental states and without them we would have to, perhaps consciously and laboriously, infer what state we were in at any given time. Thus, the feeling of remembering, triggered by mental content such as visual images of past experiences, lets us know automatically and experientially that we are remembering – no further inferential reasoning is required to determine the state.