Attentional Modulation of Perceptual Stabilization

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Experimental
Disciplines: 
Psychology
Topics: 
Attention
Deposited by: 
Dr. Ryota Kanai
Date of Issue: 
2006
Authors: 
Ryota Kanai, Frans A. J. Verstraten
Journal/Publication Title: 
Proceeding of the Royal Society London B
Volume: 
273
Page Range: 
1217-1222
Abstract: 
Perceptual priming is generally regarded as a passive and automatic process, as it isobtained even without awareness of the prime. Recent studies have introduced a more active form of perceptual priming in which priming for a subsequent ambiguous stimulus is triggered by the subjective percept, that is, interpretation of a previous ambiguous stimulus. This phenomenon known as stabilization does not require a conscious effort to actively maintain one perceptual interpretation. In this study, we show that distraction of attention, during and even after the prime presentation, interferes with the build-up of perceptual memory for stabilization. This implies that despite the apparent automaticity, stabilization involves an active attentional process for encoding and retention. The disruption during the encoding can be attributed to the reduction in sensory signals for the prime. However, the disruption during the retention suggests that the implicit memory trace of the prime necessitates the attentional resource to fully develop. The active nature of the build-up of perceptual memory for stabilization is consistent with the idea that perceptual memory increases its strength gradually over a few seconds. These findings suggest that seemingly automatic and effortless cognitive processes can compete with online perceptual processing for common attentional resources.
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