David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Consciousness and Cognition 19 (1):152-171 (2010)
The goal of this study is to characterize observers’ abilities to detect gradual changes and to explore putative dissociations between conscious experience of change and behavioral adaptation to a changing stimulus. We developed a new experimental paradigm in which, on each trial, participants were shown a dot pattern on the screen. Next, the pattern disappeared and participants had to reproduce it. In some conditions, the target pattern was incrementally rotated over successive trials and participants were either informed or not of this change. We analyzed both awareness of the changes and the dynamics of behavioral adaptation, in a way that makes it possible to assess both variability and accuracy as they change over time. Results indicate a dissociation between change awareness and behavioral adaptation to the changes, and support the notion that unconscious representations of visual stimuli are more precise and detailed than previously suggested. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of change detection
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