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A window of subliminal perception

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Under labels such as unconscious processing and subliminal perception, identification of stimuli falling below the subjective threshold (whether truly unconscious or not) has been found remarkably accurate in some experiments while completely at chance in others. Here, we first identify that an apparent window of subliminal perception arises in humans under specific stimulus conditions using different experimental paradigms and analysis methods. We then show that the standard signal detection theory (SDT) model is unable to account for this window and extend it until it is. We finally compare a range of models on empirical data. The models performing best are notable for their absence of hierarchical levels, indicating that the window could be a base property of any phenomenally conscious system. The models explain previously incompatible findings in the literature, and they allow for estimations of peaks in subthreshold perception across the spectrum of stimulus saliency, which may be used in further studies of subliminal perception.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113842
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Awareness, Consciousness, Perceptual awareness scale, Signal detection theory, Subliminal perception, Unconscious perception

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