Strength of visual percept generated by famous faces perceived without awareness: Effects of affective valence, response latency, and visual field☆

Consciousness and Cognition 14 (3):548-564 (2005)
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Abstract

Participants who were unable to detect familiarity from masked 17 ms faces did report a vague, partial visual percept. Two experiments investigated the relative strength of the visual percept generated by famous and unfamiliar faces, using masked 17 ms exposure. Each trial presented simultaneously a famous and an unfamiliar face, one face in LVF and the other in RVF. In one task, participants responded according to which of the faces generated the stronger visual percept, and in the other task, they attempted an explicit familiarity decision. The relative strength of the visual percept of the famous face compared to the unfamiliar face was moderated by response latency and participants’ attitude towards the famous person. There was also an interaction of visual field with response latency, suggesting that the right hemisphere can generate a visual percept differentiating famous from unfamiliar faces more rapidly than the left hemisphere. Participants were at chance in the explicit familiarity decision, confirming the absence of awareness of facial familiarity

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