Did you see it? Robust individual differences in the speed with which meaningful visual stimuli break suppression

Asael Y. Sklar*, Ariel Y. Goldstein, Yaniv Abir, Alon Goldstein, Ron Dotsch, Alexander Todorov, Ran R. Hassin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Perceptual conscious experiences result from non-conscious processes that precede them. We document a new characteristic of the cognitive system: the speed with which visual meaningful stimuli are prioritized to consciousness over competing noise in visual masking paradigms. In ten experiments (N = 399) we find that an individual's non-conscious visual prioritization speed (NVPS) is ubiquitous across a wide variety of stimuli, and generalizes across visual masks, suppression tasks, and time. We also find that variation in NVPS is unique, in that it cannot be explained by variation in general speed, perceptual decision thresholds, short-term visual memory, or three networks of attention (alerting, orienting and executive). Finally, we find that NVPS is correlated with subjective measures of sensitivity, as they are measured by the Highly Sensitive Person scale. We conclude by discussing the implications of variance in NVPS for understanding individual variance in behavior and the neural substrates of consciousness.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number104638
JournalCognition
Volume211
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Consciousness
  • Individual differences
  • Visual perception

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