Reference : Summation versus suppression in metacontrast masking: On the potential pitfalls of us...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Neurosciences & behavior
Summation versus suppression in metacontrast masking: On the potential pitfalls of using metacontrast masking to assess perceptual-motor dissociation.
Cardoso-Leite, Pedro mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS)]
Waszak, Florian [> >]
Attention, perception & psychophysics
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
United States
[en] Analysis of Variance ; Consciousness/physiology ; Contrast Sensitivity/physiology ; Humans ; Judgment/physiology ; Perceptual Masking/physiology ; Psychomotor Performance/physiology ; Reaction Time/physiology ; Visual Perception/physiology
[en] A briefly flashed target stimulus can become "invisible" when immediately followed by a mask-a phenomenon known as backward masking, which constitutes a major tool in the cognitive sciences. One form of backward masking is termed metacontrast masking. It is generally assumed that in metacontrast masking, the mask suppresses activity on which the conscious perception of the target relies. This assumption biases conclusions when masking is used as a tool-for example, to study the independence between perceptual detection and motor reaction. This is because other models can account for reduced perceptual performance without requiring suppression mechanisms. In this study, we used signal detection theory to test the suppression model against an alternative view of metacontrast masking, referred to as the summation model. This model claims that target- and mask-related activations fuse and that the difficulty in detecting the target results from the difficulty to discriminate this fused response from the response produced by the mask alone. Our data support this alternative view. This study is not a thorough investigation of metacontrast masking. Instead, we wanted to point out that when a different model is used to account for the reduced perceptual performance in metacontrast masking, there is no need to postulate a dissociation between perceptual and motor responses to account for the data. Metacontrast masking, as implemented in the Fehrer-Raab situation, therefore is not a valid method to assess perceptual-motor dissociations.

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