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Erika Siegel, Eric Anderson, Lisa Feldman Barrett; Affective Information Affects Visual Consciousness. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):597. doi: 10.1167/10.7.597.
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Gossip can be thought of a form of affective information about who is friend or foe. Recent evidence indicates that, as a way of learning about the “value” of a person, gossip influences how human beings evaluate each other. In the current research, we show that gossip does not just impact how a face is evaluated – it impacts whether or not a face is seen in the first place. Structurally neutral faces were paired with negative, positive, or neutral gossip. When viewed later, faces previously paired with negative (but not positive or neutral) gossip were prioritized in consciousness using a binocular rivalry procedure. These findings demonstrate gossip as a form of affective information can influence vision in a completely top-down manner, independent of the basic visual features of a face.
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