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Sol Z. Sun, Jonathan S. Cant, Susanne Ferber; A global attentional scope setting prioritizes faces for conscious detection. Journal of Vision 2016;16(6):9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.6.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The scope of visual attention is known to affect conscious object perception, with recent studies showing that a global attentional scope boosts holistic face processing, relative to a local scope. Here we show that attentional scope settings can also modulate the availability of information for conscious visual awareness. In an initial experiment, we show that adopting a global attentional scope accelerates conscious detection of initially invisible faces, presented under continuous flash suppression (CFS). Furthermore, face detection time was not modulated by attentional scope in a nonrivalrous control condition, which emulated the experience of CFS without inducing binocular rivalry. In a follow-up experiment, we report an exact replication of the original effect, as well as data suggesting that this effect is specific to upright faces, and is abolished when using both inverted faces and images of houses in an otherwise identical task. Thus, attentional scope settings can modulate the availability of information to conscious awareness, fundamentally altering the contents of our subjective visual experience.
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