Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



Many studies using masking paradigm have shown that stimuli can be processed unconsciously. However, different researchers put forward different ideas about the mechanisms of the unconscious information processing. For example, one idea is that the unconscious information might be derived from a partial awareness of the masked stimulus. Another idea is that it is derived from a perceptual interaction between a masked stimulus and the masking stimulus. We used a masking paradigm (with a briefly displayed target followed by a mask) and a subjective rating and an objective forced-choice test (with a word and picture version) given after the display to study the nature of partial awareness. The question we attempted to answer was whether people did perceive fragmentary features of a masked object picture correctly when they rated it as partially perceivable. The results showed that even when the masked stimuli only had simple features and when the subjects subjectively reported that they could perceive something of the masked stimuli, the objective forced-choice test performance was at chance level. The results were discussed in the context of interaction hypothesis and level of processing hypothesis.


© 2016 The Authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc. Original published version available at

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

First Page


Last Page


Publication Title




Included in

Psychology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.