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

Timothy D. Sweeny, Marcia Grabowecky, Satoru Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Visual pattern processing becomes increasingly complex along the ventral pathway, from the low-level coding of local orientation in the primary visual cortex to the high-level coding of face identity in temporal visual areas. Previous research using pattern aftereffects as a psychophysical tool to measure activation of adaptive feature coding has suggested that awareness is relatively unimportant for the coding of orientation, but awareness is crucial for the coding of face identity. We investigated where along the ventral visual pathway awareness becomes crucial for pattern coding. Monoptic masking, which interferes with neural spiking activity in low-level processing while preserving awareness of the adaptor, eliminated open-curvature aftereffects but preserved closed-curvature aftereffects. In contrast, dichoptic masking, which spares spiking activity in low-level processing while wiping out awareness, preserved open-curvature aftereffects but eliminated closed-curvature aftereffects. This double dissociation suggests that adaptive coding of open and closed curvatures straddles the divide between weakly and strongly awareness-dependent pattern coding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-950
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • awareness
  • pattern adaptation
  • visual perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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