Conscious emotion perception from threshold-like standpoint: Empirical support from masking

Invited talk by Remigiusz Szczepanowski, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Faculty in Wrocław.

The present study supports intuition that there is the interaction between threshold-like functional, cognitive processes underlying conscious emotion perception. The study shows that the threshold model by Krantz successfully captures the interaction between both functional processes in accounting for difference in conscious and unconscious phenomena under the backward masking condition. In this fashion the study addresses a fundamental question about consciousness whether it has graded or “all-or-none” phenomenology. We demonstrate that in case of visual emotion perception it may be “all-or-none” phenomenon. This study provides also strong computational arguments that in case of visual emotion perception threshold models can offer a better description of detection behavior than the Gaussian signal-detection model. In this fashion our study challenges the classical signal-detection approach supported in the past by the bulk of the evidence from sensory psychophysical detection experiments in vision, hearing and other senses giving empirical support to the continuous models of perception. Moreover, our study provides a reliable experimental verification of the threshold model by Krantz based on the masking data. Although there is a variety of literature devoted to threshold theories, there is a little or none data support given to this model.