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Pieter Moors, Johan Wagemans; Analyzing the time course of processing invisible stimuli: Applying event history analysis to breaking continuous flash suppression data.. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):143. doi: 10.1167/17.10.143.
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Breaking continuous flash suppression (b-CFS) is an interocular suppression paradigm in which the time to detect an initially suppressed stimulus is measured for different classes of stimuli. For example, in one classic study Jiang et al. (2007) reported shorter suppression times for upright compared to inverted faces. Because such a difference was not observed in a perceptually matched condition which did not involve interocular suppression, Jiang et al. argued to have provided evidence for unconscious processing of face stimuli. Although the suitability of b-CFS as a paradigm for unraveling the scope and limits of unconscious processing has already been firmly criticized, it is still argued that the paradigm is useful because increased suppression durations allow for more elaborate processing of the perceptually suppressed stimulus and hence certain effects can be detected more easily. In this study, we explicitly tested this claim by applying event history analysis to a set of b-CFS studies that were collected during the last years. Event history analysis refers to a set of statistical methods for studying the occurrence and timing of events while explicitly taking the passage of time into account. For an experiment comparable to Jiang et al. (2007), our analyses show that, over the course of a trial, the hazard (i.e., probability of response occurrence at time t, given that no response has occurred yet) associated with upright faces was higher compared to inverted faces, supporting faster breakthrough of upright faces. However, this face orientation effect did not interact with time, indicating no differential evolution over time for the hazard functions associated with upright and inverted faces. We discuss these results in the context of current discussions on the usefulness of b-CFS paradigms to allow for more elaborate processing of the perceptually suppressed stimulus.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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