September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Consistent Individual Differences in Suppression Breaking Speed in Continuous Flash Suppression.
Author Affiliations
  • Asael Sklar
    Psychology Department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Ran Hassin
    Psychology Department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Cognitive Science Department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 1045. doi:
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      Asael Sklar, Ran Hassin; Consistent Individual Differences in Suppression Breaking Speed in Continuous Flash Suppression.. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1045.

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

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Identifying consistent individual differences in central constructs such as intelligence or working memory is one of the psychology’s greatest contributions. Here, we report a new trait affecting the contents of our consciousness. In Experiment 1 fourteen participants were presented with emotional faces (sad, happy and neutral) in a breaking suppression Continuous Flash Suppression task (bCFS). Participants' suppression breaking speed (SBS) was strongly correlated between the different facial emotions (r=0.93, p< 0.001; r=0.96, p< 0.001; and r=0.94, p< 0.001; for happy-sad, happy-neutral and sad-neutral respectively). Importantly, there was also a strong correlation between the eyes, r=0.92, p< 0.001, indicating that eye-specific individual differences cannot account for the differences in SBS. In Experiment 2, twenty four participants first completed a categorization task in which they categorized stimuli as houses or faces, and then completed a bCFS task with stimuli from the same categories. In both tasks either houses or faces were more frequent (80% of trials), varied between participants. The correlation between frequent and infrequent stimuli's SBS was high, r=o.86, p< 0.001, and remained high when RTs to frequent and infrequent stimuli in the conscious categorization task were partialed out, rpartial=0.86, p< 0.001. In Experiment 3 we pushed the boundaries further, by examining whether individual differences in SBS are stable across time. Sixteen participants completed two bCFS tasks approximately fifteen minutes apart. SBS was highly correlated across time, r=0.82, p< 0.001, thus suggesting rare stability. SBS was highly stable in all experiments regardless of stimuli type, which eye was masked, participants' expectations, time, and a statistical control for average RT. We therefore conclude that SBS is a stable individual trait that affects one of the most important determinants of human behavior: our consciousness.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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