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Mathieu Landry, Joshua Laxer, Amir Raz; Combining attention networks increases visual awareness. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):897. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.897.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The relationship between attention and consciousness thrives on complex and multifaceted interactions. While multiple studies support the idea that conscious perception requires attention, several reports highlight orthogonal dimensions, disentangling attention and consciousness. Here we aimed to show whether the combined effect of different attention systems improved perceptual access to sensory events and boosted conscious perception. We combined a double cueing task that concurrently engages goal-driven and stimulus-driven attention with a masking paradigm, wherein we varied target-mask latencies. Our results confirm that both cues reliably engaged each attention system. Moreover, the combined effect of goal-driven and stimulus-driven attention further contributed to visual awareness. This perceptual addition was apparent at low target-mask intervals where the isolated effects of each attention system scantily influenced conscious perception; the joint effect heightened consciousness. In line with recent findings suggesting that complex behaviors rely on coordinated interactions between multiple attention networks, our findings intimate that rather than interacting with conscious perception at a single level, attention likely integrates across multiple control systems to hone in on the conscious mind.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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