What is it about?

Dissociating visual perception from awareness stands as one of the primary objectives in the field of consciousness science. While such dissociations have historically been observed in patients with neurological lesions, such as blindsight, achieving this distinction in healthy observers has remained challenging due to methodological concerns regarding participants' response biases. In this study, we address these challenges by employing a criterion-free behavioral paradigm to separate the perception of object ensembles from awareness of the task-relevant features defining these groups. To support this assertion, we conducted additional analyses to eliminate potential alternative explanations associated with higher-order decision-making deficits

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Why is it important?

This study demonstrates that behaviorally isolating unconscious visual processing may be achievable with suitable paradigms. This finding encourages further research to explore the extent of unconscious processing across a broader range of visual tasks, with the aim of delineating the boundaries of unconscious processing beyond single object processing.


The study of consciousness brings its own set of methodological hurdles that need to be overcome. In this study, we aimed to address as many of these challenges as we could, which led to some intense brainstorming sessions— but they turned out to be very enjoyable. Our hope is that our research will encourage more exploration into the role of consciousness in various visual tasks, employing robust methodological approaches.

Patxi Elosegi
Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Characterising the role of awareness in ensemble perception., Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance, April 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/xhp0001201.
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