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Filip Van Opstal, Esther De Loof, Tom Verguts, Axel Cleeremans; Spontaneous eyeblinks during breaking continuous flash suppression are associated with increased detection times. Journal of Vision 2016;16(14):21. doi: 10.1167/16.14.21.
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An eyeblink has a clear effect on low-level information processing because it temporarily occludes all visual information. Recent evidence suggests that eyeblinks can also modulate higher level processes (e.g., attentional resources), and vice versa. Despite these putative effects on different levels of information processing, eyeblinks are typically neglected in vision and in consciousness research. The main aim of this study was to investigate the timing and the effect of eyeblinks in an increasingly popular paradigm in consciousness research, namely breaking continuous flash suppression (b-CFS). Results show that participants generally refrain from blinking during a trial, that is, when they need to detect a suppressed stimulus. However, when they do blink during a trial, we observed a sharp increase in suppression time. This suggests that one needs to control for blinking when comparing detection times between conditions that could elicit phasic changes in blinking.
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