Unconscious visual information processing under interocular suppression
When dissimilar stimuli are presented to the two eyes, only one stimulus dominates at a time while the other stimulus is invisible, a phenomenon called interocular suppression.
A method of interocular suppression that has recently become very popular in the study of unconscious visual processing is continuous flash suppression (CFS): High-contrast dynamic patterns shown to one eye can render a low-contrast stimulus shown to the other eye invisible for up to minutes. Over the past decade, studies using CFS have produced new insights but also controversies regarding the types of visual information that can be processed unconsciously as well as the neural sites and the relevance of such unconscious processing. I will present and critically discuss behavioural and neuroimaging work that focuses on the question of how such unconscious neural processing under CFS is relevant for the access of visual information to conscious awareness.
I will highlight both stimulus-related and subject-related factors that govern such access to awareness and will discuss how these processes may form the basis for individual differences in subjective perceptual experience.
Prof. Dr. med. Philipp Sterzer
Senior Physician, Head of the Division Neuroimaging
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, DE