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Visual temporal integration by multi-level regularities fosters the emergence of dynamic conscious experience

By Ruichen Hu, Peijun Yuan, Ying Wang, Yi Jiang

Posted 29 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.28.440365

The relationship between information integration and visual awareness is central to contemporary theories and research on human consciousness. While there is evidence that humans are adept at integrating spatially structured information to form a coherent conscious percept, to date, little is known about how we integrate visual information over time based on its temporal structure and whether such temporal integration process contributes to our awareness of the dynamic world. Using binocular rivalry, we demonstrated that a diverse set of structured visual streams, constituted either by idiom, shape, or motion stimuli, predominated over their non-structured but otherwise matched counterparts in the competition for conscious access. Despite the apparent resemblance, there was a substantial dissociation of these observed privileges between the semantic- and perceptual-level structures, specifically regarding their resistance to spatiotemporal perturbations and demands for conscious processing over the visual integration process. These findings corroborate the essential role of structure-guided information integration in the generation of conscious content and highlight temporal integration by multi-level regularities as a fundamental mechanism to foster the emergence of continuous conscious experience.

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