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Journal Article

Interaction between top-down decision-driven congruency effect and bottom-up input-driven congruency effect is correlated with conscious awareness


Zheng,  Ze-Fan
Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Zhejiang University;

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Zheng, Z.-F., Huang, S.-Y., Lu, S., & Cai, Y.-C. (2024). Interaction between top-down decision-driven congruency effect and bottom-up input-driven congruency effect is correlated with conscious awareness. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 153(1), 102-121. doi:10.1037/xge0001483.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-D192-1
In a conventional (Stroop) priming paradigm, it was well documented that objective prime-target incongruency delays response time (RT) to target compared to prime-target congruent condition. Recent evidence suggests that incongruency between the target and subjectively reported prime identity also delays RT over and above the classic congruency effect. When the prime is rendered invisible, the former effect is fundamentally a bottom-up (BU) stimulus-driven congruency effect and the latter a top-down (TD) guess-driven congruency effect. An influential theory of consciousness, global neuronal workspace theory, postulates that the long-lasting simultaneous and reciprocal interaction between TD decision network and BU input network is preserved during conscious processing and disabled during unconscious processing. Current study is focused on testing this theoretical postulation using two behavioral experiments. Our results showed that indeed TD-congruency and BU-congruency produced additive RT effects on prime-invisible trials, which implies that TD and BU prime representations are activated in independent neuronal populations. Meanwhile, an underadditive interaction effect was observed as prime visibility rose, which is a signature that TD and BU prime representations recruited overlapping neuronal populations during conscious perception. In addition, we suggest that current behavioral paradigm might be a financially friendly alternative to detect the presence of representational overlap in the brain between a wide range of mental representations, such as expectation, prediction, conscious/unconscious perception, and conscious/unconscious working memory. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)