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Brain Sci., Volume 2, Issue 1 (March 2012), Pages 1-84

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Implicit Recognition Based on Lateralized Perceptual Fluency
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(1), 22-32; doi:10.3390/brainsci2010022
Received: 20 December 2011 / Revised: 21 January 2012 / Accepted: 31 January 2012 / Published: 6 February 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (368 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In some circumstances, accurate recognition of repeated images in an explicit memory test is driven by implicit memory. We propose that this “implicit recognition” results from perceptual fluency that influences responding without awareness of memory retrieval. Here we examined whether recognition would [...] Read more.
In some circumstances, accurate recognition of repeated images in an explicit memory test is driven by implicit memory. We propose that this “implicit recognition” results from perceptual fluency that influences responding without awareness of memory retrieval. Here we examined whether recognition would vary if images appeared in the same or different visual hemifield during learning and testing. Kaleidoscope images were briefly presented left or right of fixation during divided-attention encoding. Presentation in the same visual hemifield at test produced higher recognition accuracy than presentation in the opposite visual hemifield, but only for guess responses. These correct guesses likely reflect a contribution from implicit recognition, given that when the stimulated visual hemifield was the same at study and test, recognition accuracy was higher for guess responses than for responses with any level of confidence. The dramatic difference in guessing accuracy as a function of lateralized perceptual overlap between study and test suggests that implicit recognition arises from memory storage in visual cortical networks that mediate repetition-induced fluency increments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Unconscious Cueing via the Superior Colliculi: Evidence from Searching for Onset and Color Targets
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(1), 33-60; doi:10.3390/brainsci2010033
Received: 13 December 2011 / Revised: 3 February 2012 / Accepted: 7 February 2012 / Published: 15 February 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2697 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
According to the bottom-up theory of attention, unconscious abrupt onsets are highly salient and capture attention via the Superior Colliculi (SC). Crucially, abrupt onsets increase the perceived contrast. In line with the SC hypothesis, unconscious abrupt-onset cues capture attention regardless of the [...] Read more.
According to the bottom-up theory of attention, unconscious abrupt onsets are highly salient and capture attention via the Superior Colliculi (SC). Crucially, abrupt onsets increase the perceived contrast. In line with the SC hypothesis, unconscious abrupt-onset cues capture attention regardless of the cue color when participants search for abrupt-onset targets (Experiment 1). Also, stronger cueing effects occur for higher than lower contrast cues (Experiment 2) and for temporally, rather than nasally, presented stimuli (Experiment 3). However, in line with the known color-insensitivity of the SC, the SC pathway is shunted and unconscious abrupt-onset cues no longer capture attention when the participants have to search for color-defined targets (Experiment 4) or color-singleton targets (Experiment 5). When using color change cues instead of abrupt-onset cues, the cueing effect also vanishes (Experiment 6). Together the results support the assumption that unconscious cues can capture attention in different ways, depending on the exact task of the participants, but that one way is attentional capture via the SC. The present findings also offer a reconciliation of conflicting results in the domain of unconscious attention. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Why the Brain Knows More than We Do: Non-Conscious Representations and Their Role in the Construction of Conscious Experience
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(1), 1-21; doi:10.3390/brainsci2010001
Received: 16 November 2011 / Revised: 12 December 2011 / Accepted: 20 December 2011 / Published: 27 December 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scientific studies have shown that non-conscious stimuli and representations influence information processing during conscious experience. In the light of such evidence, questions about potential functional links between non-conscious brain representations and conscious experience arise. This article discusses neural model capable of explaining [...] Read more.
Scientific studies have shown that non-conscious stimuli and representations influence information processing during conscious experience. In the light of such evidence, questions about potential functional links between non-conscious brain representations and conscious experience arise. This article discusses neural model capable of explaining how statistical learning mechanisms in dedicated resonant circuits could generate specific temporal activity traces of non-conscious representations in the brain. How reentrant signaling, top-down matching, and statistical coincidence of such activity traces may lead to the progressive consolidation of temporal patterns that constitute the neural signatures of conscious experience in networks extending across large distances beyond functionally specialized brain regions is then explained. Full article
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Open AccessReview In the Blink of an Eye: Investigating the Role of Awareness in Fear Responding by Measuring the Latency of Startle Potentiation
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(1), 61-84; doi:10.3390/brainsci2010061
Received: 21 December 2011 / Revised: 31 January 2012 / Accepted: 7 February 2012 / Published: 16 February 2012
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Abstract
The latency of startle reflex potentiation may shed light on the aware and unaware processes underlying associative learning, especially associative fear learning. We review research suggesting that single-cue delay classical conditioning is independent of awareness of the contingency between the conditioned stimulus [...] Read more.
The latency of startle reflex potentiation may shed light on the aware and unaware processes underlying associative learning, especially associative fear learning. We review research suggesting that single-cue delay classical conditioning is independent of awareness of the contingency between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US). Moreover, we discuss research that argues that conditioning independent of awareness has not been proven. Subsequently, three studies from our lab are presented that have investigated the role of awareness in classical conditioning, by measuring the minimum latency from CS onset to observed changes in reflexive behavior. In sum, research using this method shows that startle is potentiated 30 to 100 ms after CS onset following delay conditioning. Following trace fear conditioning, startle is potentiated 1500 ms after CS presentation. These results indicate that the process underlying delay conditioned responding is independent of awareness, and that trace fear conditioned responding is dependent on awareness. Finally, this method of investigating the role of awareness is discussed and future research possibilities are proposed. Full article

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