Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
Home
Research
vision Vision
action Action
speech Speech
avoc AVoC
support support staff
People
Former Staff
Teaching
Publications
Ethics
Events
Practical

Calendar
Opportunities
Internships
Contracts
Platforms
Links

Baby Lab

Intranet
Perception-action dissociations depend on the luminance contrast of the stimuli

The observation that near-threshold low-contrast visual distractors can equally influence perceptual state and goal-directed motor responses was recently taken as an argument against a sharp separation between a conscious vision for perception and an unconscious vision for action. However, data supporting the dual visual system theory have principally involved high-contrast stimuli. In the present study, we assessed the effect of varying the contrast of a near-threshold visual distractor while keeping its visibility constant with backward noise masks. Eight participants performed fast manual reaching movements toward a highly visible target while subsequently reporting the presence/absence of a nearthreshold distractor appearing at the opposite location with respect to the body midline. For all distractor contrasts, hand trajectory deviations toward the distractor were observed when the distractor was present and detected. When the distractor remained undetected deviations also occurred, but for higher contrasts. The subliminal motor effect traditionally observed in visual masking studies may therefore primarily depend on the luminance contrast of the interfering stimuli. These results suggest that dissociations between perceptual and motor responses can be explained by a single-signal model involving differential thresholds for perception and action that are specifically modulated as a function of both the requirements of the task and the contrast level of the stimuli. Such modulation is compatible with neurophysiological accounts of visual masking in which feedforward activation to—and feedback activation from—higher visual areas are correlated with the actual presence of the stimulation and its conscious perception, respectively.