Deconstructing continuous flash suppression.

Yang E, Blake R
J Vis. 2012 12 (3): 8

PMID: 22408039 · PMCID: PMC3365563 · DOI:10.1167/12.3.8

In this paper, we asked to what extent the depth of interocular suppression engendered by continuous flash suppression (CFS) varies depending on spatiotemporal properties of the suppressed stimulus and CFS suppressor. An answer to this question could have implications for interpreting the results in which CFS influences the processing of different categories of stimuli to different extents. In a series of experiments, we measured the selectivity and depth of suppression (i.e., elevation in contrast detection thresholds) as a function of the visual features of the stimulus being suppressed and the stimulus evoking suppression, namely, the popular "Mondrian" CFS stimulus (N. Tsuchiya & C. Koch, 2005). First, we found that CFS differentially suppresses the spatial components of the suppressed stimulus: Observers' sensitivity for stimuli of relatively low spatial frequency or cardinally oriented features was more strongly impaired in comparison to high spatial frequency or obliquely oriented stimuli. Second, we discovered that this feature-selective bias primarily arises from the spatiotemporal structure of the CFS stimulus, particularly within information residing in the low spatial frequency range and within the smooth rather than abrupt luminance changes over time. These results imply that this CFS stimulus operates by selectively attenuating certain classes of low-level signals while leaving others to be potentially encoded during suppression. These findings underscore the importance of considering the contribution of low-level features in stimulus-driven effects that are reported under CFS.

MeSH Terms (9)

Depth Perception Humans Neural Inhibition Orientation Photic Stimulation Sensory Thresholds Signal Detection, Psychological Vision, Binocular Vision Disparity

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