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Tomoya Nakamura, Ikuya Murakami; Common-onset masking terminates the temporal evolution of orientation repulsion. Journal of Vision 2021;21(8):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.8.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Our conscious awareness of visual events does not arise instantaneously. Previous studies on backward masking have investigated dynamic internal processes making targets visible or invisible subjectively. However, to understand the whole picture of our rich conscious experiences, the emergence of various phenomenal attributes of consciousness beyond visibility must be delineated. We quantified appearance as the strength of orientation repulsion during common-onset masking and found that masking reduced the repulsion in a near-vertical target grating surrounded by tilted inducers. Furthermore, this reduction was seen only when the inducers were presented together with or after the target. This demonstrates that orientation repulsion involves slow contextual modulation and that masking influences this modulation at a later period. Although appearance was altered as such, orientation discriminability was not reduced by masking in any of our experiments. We propose a process in which internal representations of objects spend a certain amount of time evolving before we become aware of them. Backward masking compulsorily terminates this temporal evolution of internal representations and allows premature representations to arise in our awareness.
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