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Low-level awareness accompanies “unconscious” high-level processing during continuous flash suppression

Gelbard-Sagiv, Hagar and Faivre, Nathan and Mudrik, Liad and Koch, Christof (2016) Low-level awareness accompanies “unconscious” high-level processing during continuous flash suppression. Journal of Vision, 16 (1). Art. No. 3. ISSN 1534-7362. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20160512-125908846

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Abstract

The scope and limits of unconscious processing are a matter of ongoing debate. Lately, continuous flash suppression (CFS), a technique for suppressing visual stimuli, has been widely used to demonstrate surprisingly high-level processing of invisible stimuli. Yet, recent studies showed that CFS might actually allow low-level features of the stimulus to escape suppression and be consciously perceived. The influence of such low-level awareness on high-level processing might easily go unnoticed, as studies usually only probe the visibility of the feature of interest, and not that of lower-level features. For instance, face identity is held to be processed unconsciously since subjects who fail to judge the identity of suppressed faces still show identity priming effects. Here we challenge these results, showing that such high-level priming effects are indeed induced by faces whose identity is invisible, but critically, only when a lower-level feature, such as color or location, is visible. No evidence for identity processing was found when subjects had no conscious access to any feature of the suppressed face. These results suggest that high-level processing of an image might be enabled by—or co-occur with—conscious access to some of its low-level features, even when these features are not relevant to the processed dimension. Accordingly, they call for further investigation of lower-level awareness during CFS, and reevaluation of other unconscious high-level processing findings.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/16.1.3DOIArticle
http://jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2481800PublisherArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Additional Information:© 2016 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Received June 12, 2015; published January 12, 2016. This research was supported by The G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation. H. G. S. was supported by the Human Frontier Science Program, Marie Curie individual fellowship, the Weizmann Institute of Science–National Postdoctoral Award Program for Advancing Women in Science, and L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Program. N.F. was supported by the Fyssen Foundation. L. M. was supported by the Human Frontier Science Program to the Weizmann Institute of Science–National Postdoctoral Award Program for Advancing Women in Science, and Marie Curie individual fellowship. We thank Caitlin Duncan for help with data acquisition.
Group:Koch Laboratory, KLAB
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Human Frontier Science ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Marie Curie FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Weizmann Institute of ScienceUNSPECIFIED
L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Fyssen FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160512-125908846
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20160512-125908846
Official Citation:Gelbard-Sagiv, H., Faivre, N., Mudrik, L., & Koch, C. (2016). Low-level awareness accompanies ‘‘unconscious’’ high-level processing during continuous flash suppression. Journal of Vision, 16(1):3, 1–16, doi:10.1167/16.1.3.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:67055
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:12 May 2016 20:43
Last Modified:12 May 2016 23:18

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