Partial awareness—an intermediate state between complete consciousness and unconsciousness—has been explained by independent cognitive access to different levels of representation in hierarchical visual processing. This account, however, cannot explain graded visual experiences in low levels. We aimed to explain partial awareness in low levels of visual processing by independent cognitive access to different spatial frequencies. To observe partial awareness stably, we used a novel method. Stimuli were presented briefly (12 ms) and repeatedly with a specific inter-stimulus interval, ranging from 0 to 235 ms. By using various stimuli containing high and low spatial frequencies (superimposed sinusoidal gratings, Navon letters, and scenes), we found that conscious percept was degraded with increasing inter-stimulus intervals. However, the degree of degradation was smaller for low spatial frequency than for high spatial frequency information. Our results reveal that cognitive access to different spatial frequencies can occur independently and this can explain partial awareness in low levels of visual processing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Brain Research Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Korean Government (MSIT) ( NRF-2017M3C7A1029658 ). Data in this research were presented at the 19th annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (May 2019). The raw data for all experiments are available on the Open Science Framework ( https://osf.io/grj8b/ ).
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Cognitive Neuroscience