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Object-based attention without awareness

Norman, Liam J.; Heywood, Charles A.; Kentridge, Robert W.

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Charles A. Heywood


Attention and awareness are often considered to be related. Some forms of attention can, however, facilitate the processing of stimuli that remain unseen. It is unclear whether this dissociation extends beyond selection on the basis of primitive properties, such as spatial location, to situations in which there are more complex bases for attentional selection. The experiment described here shows that attentional selection at the level of objects can take place without giving rise to awareness of those objects. Pairs of objects were continually masked, which rendered them invisible to participants performing a cued-target-discrimination task. When the cue and target appeared within the same object, discrimination was faster than when they appeared in different objects at the same spatial separation. Participants reported no awareness of the objects and were unable to detect them in a signal-detection task. Object-based attention, therefore, is not sufficient for object awareness.


Norman, L. J., Heywood, C. A., & Kentridge, R. W. (2013). Object-based attention without awareness. Psychological Science, 24(6), 836-843.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 20, 2012
Publication Date Jun 1, 2013
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2012
Publicly Available Date May 21, 2015
Journal Psychological Science
Print ISSN 0956-7976
Electronic ISSN 1467-9280
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 6
Pages 836-843
Keywords Visual attention, Visual perception.


Accepted Journal Article (315 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Norman, Liam J. and Heywood, Charles A. and Kentridge, Robert W. (2013) 'Object-based attention without awareness.', Psychological science., 24 (6). pp. 836-843. Copyright © The Author(s) 2013. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

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