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Opposing effects of attention and consciousness on afterimages

van Boxtel, Jeroen J. A. and Tsuchiya, Naotsugu and Koch, Christof (2010) Opposing effects of attention and consciousness on afterimages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107 (19). pp. 8883-8888. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC2889341.

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The brain's ability to handle sensory information is influenced by both selective attention and consciousness. There is no consensus on the exact relationship between these two processes and whether they are distinct. So far, no experiment has simultaneously manipulated both. We carried out a full factorial 2 × 2 study of the simultaneous influences of attention and consciousness (as assayed by visibility) on perception, correcting for possible concurrent changes in attention and consciousness. We investigated the duration of afterimages for all four combinations of high versus low attention and visible versus invisible. We show that selective attention and visual consciousness have opposite effects: paying attention to the grating decreases the duration of its afterimage, whereas consciously seeing the grating increases the afterimage duration. These findings provide clear evidence for distinctive influences of selective attention and consciousness on visual perception.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
van Boxtel, Jeroen J. A.0000-0003-2643-0474
Tsuchiya, Naotsugu0000-0003-4216-8701
Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Additional Information:© 2010 National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Anne Treisman, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, and approved March 31, 2010 (received for review November 17, 2009). Published online before print April 27, 2010. The authors thank April Kartikasari and Jan Brascamp for comments on the manuscript, and Jan Brascamp and Tomas Knapen for insightful discussions. Support for this research was provided by a Rubicon grant of the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO; to J.J.A.v.B.), the National Science Foundation, the Mathers Foundation, The Gimbel Fund, and the WCU program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (R31-2008-000-10008-0) (C.K.), and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (N.T.). Author contributions: J.J.A.v.B., N.T., and C.K. designed research; J.J.A.v.B. performed research; J.J.A.v.B. analyzed data; and J.J.A.v.B., N.T., and C.K. wrote the paper.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
Mathers FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Korea)R31-2008-000-10008-0
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)UNSPECIFIED
National Research Foundation of KoreaUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:awareness; continuous flash suppression; Troxler fading; dual-task; visibility
Issue or Number:19
PubMed Central ID:PMC2889341
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100601-111633951
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18506
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:02 Jun 2010 16:30
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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