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Verena Willenbockel, Franco Lepore, Benoit A Bacon, Frédéric Gosselin; The informational correlates of conscious and nonconscious face-gender perception. Journal of Vision 2013;13(2):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.2.10.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We used a face-gender repetition priming paradigm to precisely map the spatial frequencies (SFs) that influence observers' responses under different prime awareness conditions. A visible prime condition was set up by presenting the stimulus sequence mask–blank–prime–blank–mask–target and an invisible prime condition by switching the order of the masks and the blanks (see also Dehaene et al., 2001). The prime faces (∼4.6° × 3.1°) were randomly filtered trial-by-trial according to the SF bubbles technique (Willenbockel, Fiset et al., 2010). Classification vectors, derived by summing the SF filters from each trial weighted by observers' transformed response times, revealed that SFs around 12 cycles per face width modulated responses in both prime awareness conditions. The significant SFs closely matched those optimal for accurate performance in a direct face-gender classification paradigm. Surprisingly, the significant SFs facilitated observers' responses in the visible prime condition, whereas they slowed responses in the invisible prime condition. Our findings suggest that SF tuning per se remains robust under different prime awareness conditions but that diagnostic visual cues might be utilized in a qualitatively different fashion as a function of awareness.
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