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Jiyoon Stephanie Song, Hee Yeon Im, Christine Gamble, Joo-Hyun Song; Effects of scene consistency in subliminally perceived visual stimuli. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1171. doi: 10.1167/16.12.1171.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous studies have shown that contextual consistency within a scene affects the accuracy of object recognition (Davenport & Potter 2004), but it is unclear how contextual consistency influences the perception of scenes that are viewed subconsciously. To address this question, we compared participants' responses to contextually consistent and inconsistent visual scenes in the presence of continuous flash suppression (CFS), which allows stimuli to be perceived without reaching conscious awareness. We created scene stimuli which we defined as contextually consistent if the foreground object corresponded to the background, and inconsistent if it did not. For each trial, CFS was presented at full contrast immediately to a randomly chosen eye, and a visual scene with a clear foreground object and background was gradually introduced to the other, non-suppressed eye. During each trial, participants indicated when the foreground object broke suppression and reached conscious awareness via key press, then verbally identified the foreground object. We defined reaction time (RT) as the time it took for participants to indicate via key press that the foreground object had broken suppression and entered conscious awareness. We also analyzed participants' accuracy in identifying the foreground object. In order to examine the relationship between scene context, perceptual awareness, and learning, participants were presented with the same set of visual stimuli twice, in two separate experimental blocks. For both the contextually consistent and inconsistent scenes, participants showed an improvement in object identification accuracy across blocks. Furthermore, when the scenes were contextually consistent, participants showed a decrease in RT across blocks in addition to the increase in object identification accuracy. Together, this suggests that the contextual consistency of scenes facilitates object recognition and learning, and that learning by means of repeated exposure can occur without conscious awareness of the stimuli.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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