Unconscious binding of visual object-features?
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The different features that are present in the visual field, such as color, orientation and shape, are processed independently in specialized regions within the visual cortex, after which they are somehow integrated again to form the coherent, unified objects that dominate our conscious perception. A question that can be asked is whether this visual feature binding also takes places when an object is processed unconsciously. Previous studies have already presented some evidence for this, but more research is needed to validate these results and to create some generalizability of them. The present study therefore investigates whether the color and shape of an object are spontaneously bound when this object is suppressed from consciousness by interocular suppression. This was accomplished by means of continuous flash suppression (CFS), inducing a strong form of interocular suppression, in combination with a sequential priming paradigm. The results show that while consciously processed primes successfully affected the response that was given to the target, the primes that were suppressed from consciousness did not have any effect. As such, the present study fails to present evidence of the existence or inexistence of unconscious visual feature binding during interocular suppression.