Illusions that produce perceptual suppression despite constant retinal input are used to manipulate visual consciousness. Here we report on a powerful variant of existing techniques, Continuous Flash Suppression. Distinct images flashed successively around 10 Hz into one eye reliably suppress an image presented to the other eye. Compared to binocular rivalry, the duration of perceptual suppression increased more than 10-fold. Using this tool we show that the strength of the negative afterimage of an adaptor was reduced by half when it (...) was perceptually suppressed by input from the other eye. The more likely the adaptor was completely suppressed, the larger the reduction of the afterimage intensity. Paradoxically, trial-to-trial visibility of the adaptor did not correlate with the degree of suppression. Our results imply that formation of afterimages involves neuronal structures that access input from both eyes, but that do not correspond directly to the neuronal correlates of perceptual awareness. (shrink)
Consciousness and emotion feature prominently in our personal lives, yet remain enigmatic. Recent advances prompt further distinctions that should provide more experimental traction: we argue that emotion consists of an emotion state (functional aspects, including emo- tional response) as well as feelings (the conscious experience of the emotion), and that consciousness consists of level (e.g. coma, vegetative state and wake- fulness) and content (what it is we are conscious of). Not only is consciousness important to aspects of emotion but structures (...) that are important for emotion, such as brainstem nuclei and midline cortices, overlap with structures that regulate the level of consciousness. The intersection of consciousness and emotion is ripe for experimental investigation, and we outline possible examples for future studies. (shrink)
Under what conditions are material objects, such as particles, parts of a whole object? This is the composition question and is a longstanding open question in philosophy. Existing attempts to specify a non-trivial restriction on composition tend to be vague and face serious counterexamples. Consequently, two extreme answers have become mainstream: composition (the forming of a whole by its parts) happens under no or all conditions. In this paper, we provide a self-contained introduction to the integrated information theory of consciousness (...) (IIT). We show that IIT specifies a non-trivial restriction on composition: composition happens when integrated information is maximized. We compare the IIT-restriction to existing proposals and argue that the IIT-restriction has significant advantages, especially in response to the problems of vagueness and counterexamples. An appendix provides an introduction to calculating parts and wholes with a simple system. (shrink)
We agree with Block's basic hypothesis postulating the existence of phenomenal consciousness without cognitive access. We explain such states in terms of consciousness without top-down, endogenous attention and speculate that their correlates may be a coalition of neurons that are consigned to the back of cortex, without access to working memory and planning in frontal cortex.
Since Tversky argued that similarity judgments violate the three metric axioms, asymmetrical similarity judgments have been particularly challenging for standard, geometric models of similarity, such as multidimensional scaling. According to Tversky, asymmetrical similarity judgments are driven by differences in salience or extent of knowledge. However, the notion of salience has been difficult to operationalize, especially for perceptual stimuli for which there are no apparent differences in extent of knowledge. To investigate similarity judgments between perceptual stimuli, across three experiments, we collected (...) data where individuals would rate the similarity of a pair of temporally separated color patches. We identified several violations of symmetry in the empirical results, which the conventional multidimensional scaling model cannot readily capture. Pothos et al. proposed a quantum geometric model of similarity to account for Tversky's findings. In the present work, we extended this model to a more general framework that can be fit to similarity judgments. We fitted several variants of quantum and multidimensional scaling models to the behavioral data and concluded in favor of the quantum approach. Without further modifications of the model, the best-fit quantum model additionally predicted violations of the triangle inequality that we observed in the same data. Overall, by offering a different form of geometric representation, the quantum geometric framework of similarity provides a viable alternative to multidimensional scaling for modeling similarity judgments, while still allowing a convenient, spatial illustration of similarity. (shrink)
This study explored how congruency between facial mimicry and observed expressions affects the stability of conscious facial expression representations. Focusing on the congruency effect between proprioceptive/sensorimotor signals and visual stimuli for happy expressions, participants underwent a binocular rivalry task displaying neutral and happy faces. Mimicry was either facilitated with a chopstick or left unrestricted. Key metrics included Initial Percept (bias indicator), Onset Resolution Time (time from onset to Initial Percept), and Cumulative Time (content stabilization measure). Results indicated that mimicry manipulation (...) significantly impacted Cumulative Time for happy faces, highlighting the importance of congruent mimicry in stabilizing conscious awareness of facial expressions. This supports embodied cognition models, showing the integration of proprioceptive information significantly biases conscious visual perception of facial expressions. (shrink)