New Research From Psychological Science

Magnocellular and Parvocellular Contributions to Conscious and Nonconscious Vision

Evelina Tapia and Bruno G. Breitmeyer

When it comes to consciousness and vision, the magnocellular (M) channel in the dorsal cortical pathway has been associated with nonconscious visual processing, and the parvocellular (P) channel in the ventral cortical pathway has been connected to conscious visual processing. In this study, researchers used contrast-dependent primes to determine whether the priming effects were characteristic of M- or P-channel responses. They found that M channels have a significant role in conscious vision and propose a new mechanism for how the channels function.

Awareness Becomes Necessary Between Adaptive Pattern Coding of Open and Closed Curvatures

Timothy D. Sweeny, Marcia Grabowecky, and Satoru Suzuki

Previous research has suggested that in the visual system, awareness is not important for coding features like the orientation of objects and people, but it is necessary for coding faces. Researchers investigated how crucial awareness is for coding patterns (like curves) using procedures that disrupt visual awareness or interfere with low-level visual processing. Based on their results, the authors concluded that the divide between patterns that are strongly dependent on awareness and those that are weakly dependent on awareness occurs between the coding of open curvatures (e.g., a half circle) and closed curvatures (e.g., a full circle).

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