In sight but out of mind: Do competing views test the limits of perception without awareness?

Consciousness and Cognition 13 (2):421-429 (2004)
Over a century’s worth of research suggests that “perception” without awareness is a genuine phenomenon. However, relatively little research has explored the question of whether all visually presented information activates representations in long term memory without awareness. Two experiments explored the use of a figure–ground display consisting of competing views in which one view dominates the other such that subjects are unaware of the non-dominant view. Neither experiment provided evidence that the non-dominant view activated its representation in long term memory when the subject failed to report being aware of the embedded word in that priming was not seen on a subsequent stem completion task. In contrast, priming was seen when subjects reported being aware of the embedded word. It is suggested that two competing figure–ground relations are not concurrently computed unconsciously
Keywords *Awareness  *Long Term Memory  *Visual Perception
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2003.11.004
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