Friday, July 12, 2013

Tutorial M4: Carmel

Friday July 12 09:00-12:00

M4: Measuring (un)awareness

David Carmel (Dep’t of Psychology, University of Edinburgh) & Steve Fleming (Center for Neural Science, New York University)

Most research on perceptual awareness attempts to understand consciousness by investigating the twin themes of conscious and unconscious perception – i.e., what perceptual processes are associated with conscious experience and what can be accomplished in the absence of awareness. There is, however, a great deal of confusion regarding how to assess and measure each of these modes of perceptual processing. This tutorial will offer researchers at all levels an overview of pertinent methodological and conceptual issues, leaving participants with an understanding of the questions they need to consider when designing studies, and how the answers to these questions constrain the conclusions that can be drawn from research findings. For unconscious perception, the questions that will be discussed include how to ensure suppression of percep- tual stimuli from awareness, how to decide which suppression technique is most appropriate for a specific research question, and whether different kinds of unconscious processing indicate similar neural underpin- nings.

For conscious processing, the questions that will be addressed are how to measure the level and extent of subjective conscious experience, whether different ways of assessing reports of awareness (confidence, appearance, wagering) address equivalent constructs, and how detection and identification of perceptual stimuli differ.

Several demonstrations will clarify the issues that will be discussed, and generous provision for discussion will be made to allow consideration of specific problems or issues arising in participants’ own research.

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