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Geoffrey F. Woodman, Do-Joon Yi, Marvin M. Chun, Jeffrey D. Schall; Masking the mask: Targets are recovered during pattern masking but not object-substitution masking. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):164. doi: 10.1167/4.8.164.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Several decades of research suggest that flashing a homogeneous stimulus after the presentation of a pattern mask reduces the deleterious effect of the mask, a phenomenon often called target recovery. Recent findings indicate that a visual search target can be masked by the presentation of 4 small dots a significant distance from the target object as opposed to the overlapping pattern mask used in traditional visual masking paradigms. This effect, known as object-substitution masking, is believed to be due to the substitution of the target representation by a representation of the 4 dots. Moreover, this phenomenon appears to be governed by different spatial and temporal parameters than more traditional forms of masking. In the present study we examined whether target recovery could be observed during different masking paradigms. Similar to classic studies of target recovery we observed target recovery in a pattern-masking paradigm. However, target recovery was not observed during object-substitution masking. It appears that the stimulus conditions that lead to maximal object substitution do not allow such a masked target to be recovered, consistent with the theoretical explanation of the phenomenon.
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