Relative blindsight arises from a criterion confound in metacontrast masking: Implications for theories of consciousness

Consciousness and Cognition 21 (1):307-314 (2012)
Ali Jannati
Simon Fraser University
Relative blindsight is said to occur when different levels of subjective awareness are obtained at equality of objective performance. Using metacontrast masking, Lau and Passingham reported relative blindsight in normal observers at the shorter of two stimulus-onset asynchronies between target and mask. Experiment 1 replicated the critical asymmetry in subjective awareness at equality of objective performance. We argue that this asymmetry cannot be regarded as evidence for relative blindsight because the observers’ responses were based on different attributes of the stimuli at the two SOAs. With an invariant criterion content , there was no asymmetry in subjective awareness across the two SOAs even though objective performance was the same. Experiment 3 examined the effect of criterion level on estimates of relative blindsight. Collectively, the present results question whether metacontrast masking is a suitable paradigm for establishing relative blindsight. Implications for theories of consciousness are discussed
Keywords Metacontrast masking  Blindsight  Consciousness  Awareness  Criterion content  Criterion level  Global workspace theory  First-order theories  Higher-order theories
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2011.10.003
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References found in this work BETA

Consciousness Cannot Be Separated From Function.Michael A. Cohen & Daniel C. Dennett - 2011 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (8):358--364.

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Absolute and Relative Blindsight.Tarryn Balsdon & Paul Azzopardi - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 32:79-91.

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