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Yung-Hao Yang, Su-Ling Yeh; Sound enhances processing of emotional words under invisible conditions. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):795. doi: 10.1167/8.6.795.
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Recently there has been increasing evidence for high-level information being processed differently even though the stimuli are not consciously perceived (e.g., Jiang, Costello, & He, 2007). Here we examined whether emotional Chinese words can be processed under invisible conditions and whether this unaware visual processing is affected by a sound. The continuous flash mondrians (Tsuchiya, & Koch, 2005) were used in one eye to suppress the emotional Chinese two-character words in the other eye. The contrast of words was raised gradually, and the time needed for the word to release from suppression was measured. The words could be neutral, positive, or negative, and they were presented either upright or inverted, with or without sound. Results showed shorter RTs for upright than for inverted words, for emotional than for neutral words, and for words with sound than without sound. The sound-facilitatory effect is not due to alertness because the onset time of the sound and the time to release from suppression was asynchronous for at least 800 ms. These results imply that unlike emotional faces, words' knowledge are acquired, and yet emotional words can still be processed differently while they are invisible. The effect of sound modulation also supports our previous finding (You & Yeh, VSS 2007) that sound can boost the unaware visual process.
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