September 2011
Volume 11, Issue 11
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2011
Integration without awareness: expanding the limits of unconscious processing
Author Affiliations
  • Liad Mudrik
    Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 69978, USA
  • Assaf Breska
    Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Dominique Lamy
    Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 69978, USA
  • Leon Deouell
    Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
    Edmund and Lilly Safra Center for brain sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
Journal of Vision September 2011, Vol.11, 1138. doi:10.1167/11.11.1138
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      Liad Mudrik, Assaf Breska, Dominique Lamy, Leon Deouell; Integration without awareness: expanding the limits of unconscious processing. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):1138. doi: 10.1167/11.11.1138.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Human conscious awareness is commonly seen as the climax of evolution. However, what function – if any – it serves in human behavior is still debated. One of the leading suggestions holds that the cardinal function of conscious awareness is integration across numerous inputs and levels of analysis – including the multitude of features and objects in a complex scene – into a unified, coherent, and meaningful perceptual experience. Here we demonstrate, however, that integration of objects and their background scenes can be achieved without awareness of either. In a group of human observers, complex scenes including incongruent objects were faster than normal scenes to escape perceptual suppression induced in a binocular rivalry setting known as Continuous Flash Suppression. We conclude that visual awareness is not needed for object-background integration or for processing the likelihood of an object to appear within a given semantic context, but may be needed for dealing with novel situations.

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