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Induction of Kanizsa Contours Requires Awareness of the Inducing Context

Banica, T; Schwarzkopf, DS; (2016) Induction of Kanizsa Contours Requires Awareness of the Inducing Context. PLOS ONE , 11 (8) 10.1371/journal.pone.0161177. Green open access

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Abstract

It remains unknown to what extent the human visual system interprets information about complex scenes without conscious analysis. Here we used visual masking techniques to assess whether illusory contours (Kanizsa shapes) are perceived when the inducing context creating this illusion does not reach awareness. In the first experiment we tested perception directly by having participants discriminate the orientation of an illusory contour. In the second experiment, we exploited the fact that the presence of an illusory contour enhances performance on a spatial localization task. Moreover, in the latter experiment we also used a different masking method to rule out the effect of stimulus duration. Our results suggest that participants do not perceive illusory contours when they are unaware of the inducing context. This is consistent with theories of a multistage, recurrent process of perceptual integration. Our findings thus challenge some reports, including those from neurophysiological experiments in anaesthetized animals. Furthermore, we discuss the importance to test the presence of the phenomenal percept directly with appropriate methods.

Type: Article
Title: Induction of Kanizsa Contours Requires Awareness of the Inducing Context
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161177
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 Banica, Schwarzkopf. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, EARLY VISUAL-CORTEX, ILLUSORY CONTOURS, SUBJECTIVE CONTOURS, PARIETAL EXTINCTION, INVISIBLE STIMULI, BINOCULAR-RIVALRY, SPATIAL NEGLECT, PHANTOM SURFACE, PERCEPTION, DEPTH
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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 Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1519958
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