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Conscious awareness is required for holistic face processing.

Axelrod, V; Rees, G; (2014) Conscious awareness is required for holistic face processing. Conscious Cogn , 27C 233 - 245. 10.1016/j.concog.2014.05.004. Green open access

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Abstract

Investigating the limits of unconscious processing is essential to understand the function of consciousness. Here, we explored whether holistic face processing, a mechanism believed to be important for face processing in general, can be accomplished unconsciously. Using a novel "eyes-face" stimulus we tested whether discrimination of pairs of eyes was influenced by the surrounding face context. While the eyes were fully visible, the faces that provided context could be rendered invisible through continuous flash suppression. Two experiments with three different sets of face stimuli and a subliminal learning procedure converged to show that invisible faces did not influence perception of visible eyes. In contrast, surrounding faces, when they were clearly visible, strongly influenced perception of the eyes. Thus, we conclude that conscious awareness might be a prerequisite for holistic face processing.

Type: Article
Title: Conscious awareness is required for holistic face processing.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2014.05.004
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2014.05.004
Additional information: �© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Keywords: Holistic face processing, Unconscious processing, Visual awareness
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1433532
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