Conscious perception of natural images is constrained by category-related visual features

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External organisations

  • University of Amsterdam


Conscious perception is crucial for adaptive behaviour yet access to consciousness varies for different types of objects. The visual system comprises regions with widely distributed category information and exemplar-level representations that cluster according to category. Does this categorical organisation in the brain provide insight into object-specific access to consciousness? We address this question using the Attentional Blink approach with visual objects as targets. We find large differences across categories in the attentional blink. We then employ activation patterns extracted from a deep convolutional neural network to reveal that these differences depend on mid- to high-level, rather than low-level, visual features. We further show that these visual features can be used to explain variance in performance across trials. Taken together, our results suggest that the specific organisation of the higher-tier visual system underlies important functions relevant for conscious perception of differing natural images.


Original languageEnglish
Article number4106
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2019