The Influence of Visual Long-Term Memory on Visual Awareness
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Visual information is filtered and selected prior to awareness. Previous studies have shown that the content held in visual working memory (VWM) affects visual awareness and the prioritization of visual information for conscious access. Visual information tends to break through interocular suppression and enter visual awareness faster when it matches the content of VWM than non-matching information. This study investigated whether the content stored in visual long-term memory (VLTM) also affects visual awareness during interocular suppression. To study the influence of VLTM on visual awareness an experiment has been conducted which combined a learning task that utilized the big storage capacity for object details of the human VLTM with the method of breaking continuous flash suppression (b-CFS). First, the participants had to learn 99 images. Second, a b-CFS task took place to measure whether images gained prioritized access to visual awareness when matching certain criteria of information stored in LTM. These images could (a) be identical to a learned image, (b) match a category of a certain learned image, (c) match a learned image with the same identity but depicted in a different state, or (d) be a new image that was not learned. No significant difference was found between the variance of the four conditions or between learned and not learned images. The data suggested that the content stored in VLTM does not directly affect visual awareness during interocular suppression.