August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Meaningful actions and interactions receive priority in conscious perception
Author Affiliations
  • Junzhu Su
    Department of Psychology, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
  • Jeroen van Boxtel
    Department of Psychology, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
  • Hongjing Lu
    Department of Psychology, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 1251. doi:
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      Junzhu Su, Jeroen van Boxtel, Hongjing Lu; Meaningful actions and interactions receive priority in conscious perception . Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1251.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Perceiving actions and social (inter)actions is of prime importance in our everyday lives. However, it remains unclear whether natural actions and meaningful interactions between actors receive primary access to conscious perception. We investigated perceptual rivalry between conflicting point-light actions presented one to each eye to assess how visual dominance can be modulated by action processing. In Experiment 1, two dichoptically overlapping point-light dancers (upright and inverted) were presented, one to each eye and in different colors. Participants were asked to indicate the color of the more visible actor during the 20s viewing period. The proportion of dominance for the upright dancer color was greater than that of the inverted dancer, confirming that perceptual grouping of biological motion enhances visual dominance of natural actions. In Experiment 2, rivalry was induced between a male salsa dancer, and a non-salsa action. Observers viewed these rivaling actions either with or without a binocularly visible female salsa dancer, engaged in a salsa dance with the male dancer of the rivalling pair of actors. In the presence of a female dance partner, we found that the reported dominance proportion of her partner dancer was significantly greater than of the non-salsa action. Experiment 3 used the same rival actions with either a female dance partner or an unrelated male salsa dancer (from a different motion clip) presented binocularly in green. In addition to reporting the dominance color during the viewing period, participants decided whether green actors interacted with other actors at the end of each trial. We found that identification of interactive actions further promotes visual dominance of relevant actions. These results indicate that awareness during binocular rivalry is partly governed by the activity of high-level perceptual mechanisms specialized for processing biologically significant cues, such as biological motion and social actions that modulate ocular suppression via cortical feedback.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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