Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Subliminal emotion perception in brain imaging: findings, issues, and recommendations.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2006 (English)In: Prog Brain Res, ISSN 0079-6123, Vol. 156, 105-21 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many theories of emotion propose that emotional input is processed preferentially due to its

relevance for the organism. Further, because consciousness has limited capacity, these considerations imply

that emotional input ought to be processed even if participants are perceptually unaware of the input

(subliminal perception). Although brain imaging has studied effects of unattended, suppressed (in binocular

rivalry), and visually masked emotional pictures, conclusions regarding subliminal perception have been

mixed. The reason is that subliminal perception demands a concept of an awareness threshold or limen, but

there is no agreement on how to define and measure this threshold. Although different threshold concepts

can be identified in psychophysics (signal detection theory), none maps directly onto perceptual awareness.

Whereas it may be tempting to equate unawareness with the complete absence of objective discrimination

ability (d0 ΒΌ 0), this approach is incompatible with lessons from blindsight and denies the subjective nature

of consciousness. This review argues that perceptual awareness is better viewed as a continuum of sensory

states than a binary state. When levels of awareness are characterized carefully in terms of objective

discrimination and subjective experience, findings can be informative regarding the relative independence of

effects from awareness and the potentially moderating role of awareness in processing emotional input.

Thus, because the issue of a threshold concept may never be resolved completely, the emphasis is to not

prove subliminal perception but to compare effects at various levels of awareness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 156, 105-21 p.
Keyword [en]
Attention/*physiology, Brain/physiology, Consciousness/*physiology, Emotions/*physiology, Humans, Perceptual Masking/*physiology, Psychophysics, Subliminal Stimulation
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-19268PubMedID: 17015077OAI: diva2:185792
Available from: 2008-01-15 Created: 2008-01-15 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links


Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Wiens, Stefan
By organisation
Department of Psychology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 17 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link