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Reporting on the Temporal Properties of Subliminal Events

Riddle, Travis A.

What is the fate of a stimulus which is processed, but not consciously seen? Are there any properties of subliminal or preconscious stimuli which are available for conscious report? While psychologists have long been interested in these and similar questions, the answers obtained have varied. This variation is partly a function of the process of uncovering previously overlooked methodological limitations, and then advancing beyond them. The present work takes advantage of a masking technique known as continuous flash suppression to examine an underexplored stimulus property - temporal order. Data from three studies indicate that participants are able to judge whether a subliminal event comes before or after a cued button press. This data is taken to indicate that not all processing is suppressed equally in subliminal masking paradigms. In particular, it seems probable, especially in light of previous work, that processing in the dorsal visual pathway is spared to a greater extent, and is available for introspection. Given this, future work will focus on investigating whether these effects are robust to manipulations of physical action. Implications for theories of action control and visual awareness are discussed in light of the present findings.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Sparrow, Betsy
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014
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