The role of awareness in visual motion perception

L Kaunitz, A. Fracasso, E Olivetti, D. Melcher

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterOther research output


The degree to which visual motion is processed outside of awareness remains a matter of debate. Even though unseen motion stimuli can generate motion
aftereects (Lehmkuhle and Fox, 1975 Vision Research 15 855–859; Oshea and Crassini, 1981 Vision Research 21 801–804) and priming (Melcher et al, 2005
Neuron 46 723–729), the magnitude of these eects as compared to the eects obtained with conscious stimuli are diminished in size (Blake et al, 2006
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103 4783–4788).
Employing continuous flash suppression (Tsuchiya and Koch, 2005 Nature
Neuroscience 8 1096–1101) along with dierent motion stimuli we investigated the behavioral eects of visual motion processing and its dependency upon
awareness. We studied the eect of motion coherence outside of awareness.
Our preliminary findings suggest that coherently moving dots break through
suppression more quickly than incoherent dots. We also show that complex unseen motion can generate motion aftereects, though they are always
reduced in size compared to conscious conditions. Overall, our results suggest that unseen motion is processed in the visual cortex outside of awareness but that visual awareness remains a natural, fundamental and necessary property
of the functioning of the visual system.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventUnknown event -
Duration: 1 Jan 2013 → …


ConferenceUnknown event
Period1/01/13 → …


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