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Dong Liu, Li Wang, Yi Jiang; Working memory modulates unconscious visual processing. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):802. doi: 10.1167/13.9.802.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous studies have demonstrated that the content of working memory (WM)can modulate conscious visual selection.Whether WM can affect the unconscious processing of visual signals has received much less attention. Here we probed this issue by combining the delayed match-to-sample task with an interocular suppression paradigm. A face (with fearful or neutral expression) was memorized for later facial identity recognition.During the delay period,a standard high contrast dynamic noise pattern was presented to one eye, and a new test face (with fearful or neutral expression) was gradually introduced to the other eye so that it was rendered invisible through interocular suppression at the beginning of each trial. We measured the time for the test face to break from noise suppression and begin to gain dominance. Results showed that the faces matched the emotional valence held in WM emerged from suppression into awareness faster than those did not match.This facilitation effect could not be accounted for by an automatic bottom-up perceptual priming mechanism,as the effect disappeared when these faces were passively viewed and not held in WM. Moreover, this WM induced enhancement can be extended to more basic visual features (e.g.,orientation). Taken together, the findings suggest that reentrant feedback from WM can modulate the unconscious processing of both high-level and low-level visual signals. Keywords:working memory, visual awareness,emotion, continuous flash suppression
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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