Do conscious perception and unconscious processing rely on independent mechanisms? A meta-contrast study

Ziv Peremen, Dominique Lamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is currently no consensus regarding what measures are most valid to demonstrate perceptual processing without awareness. Likewise, whether conscious perception and unconscious processing rely on independent mechanisms or lie on a continuum remains a matter of debate. Here, we addressed these issues by comparing the time courses of subjective reports, objective discrimination performance and response priming during meta-contrast masking, under similar attentional demands. We found these to be strikingly similar, suggesting that conscious perception and unconscious processing cannot be dissociated by their time course. Our results also demonstrate that unconscious processing, indexed by response priming, occurs, and that objective discrimination performance indexes the same conscious processes as subjective visibility reports. Finally, our results underscore the role of attention by showing that how much attention the stimulus receives relative to the mask, rather than whether processing is measured by conscious discrimination or by priming, determines the time course of meta-contrast masking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Awareness
  • Conscious perception
  • Consciousness
  • Meta-contrast masking
  • NCC
  • Response priming
  • Subliminal processing
  • Unconscious processing

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