August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Revealing the dynamics of visual masking using a speeded saccadic choice task
Author Affiliations
  • Sébastien M. Crouzet
    Institute of Medical Psychology, Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  • Simon Hviid Del Pin
    CCN, Dept. of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Morten Overgaard
    CCN, Dept. of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Niko A. Busch
    Institute of Medical Psychology, Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 1196. doi:10.1167/14.10.1196
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      Sébastien M. Crouzet, Simon Hviid Del Pin, Morten Overgaard, Niko A. Busch; Revealing the dynamics of visual masking using a speeded saccadic choice task. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1196. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1196.

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

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Abstract

Object substitution masking (OSM) occurs when a briefly presented target in a search array is surrounded by small dots that remain visible after the target disappears. The reduction of target visibility occurring after OSM has been suggested to result from a specific interference with reentrant visual processing. Here, we tested a prediction derived from this hypothesis: responses fast enough to have been triggered before the beginning of reentrant processing should escape this interference, and thus not be affected by masking. To this aim, we combined an OSM paradigm with a saccadic choice task, in which the fastest saccades occur as early as 120 ms after target onset, allowing to study the effect of masking at an early phase of visual processing. In the first experiment, we manipulated target visibility using either OSM, backward masking, or low stimulus contrast and compared their effect on accuracy over time. A general reduction of performance was observed in all three conditions. The analysis of accuracy as a function of response time revealed that the fastest saccades (120-150 ms time-window) were virtually unaffected by both OSM and backward masking, while performance was strongly reduced for saccades slower than 150 ms. This RT-dependent performance impairment was specific to the masking procedures, since the control condition in which performance was impaired through a contrast decrease showed no such difference between fast and slow saccades. The second experiment with additional EEG recordings revealed that pre-stimulus alpha band activity influences the accuracy of the saccade to come, especially for the fastest responses. These findings provide further evidence that masking interferes mostly with reentrant processing, while leaving early feedforward processing largely intact, and bring new insights into the trial-to-trial variability of reaction times and accuracy.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014

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