Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Requirement For High-level Mental Processing In Subliminal Learning

Date:
September 27, 2005
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
We are constantly learning new things as we go about our lives and refining our sensory abilities. How and when these sensory modifications take place is the focus of intense study and debate. In new work, researchers unify two lines of research--our understanding of classical learning and a phenomenon known as the attentional blink--to achieve an important demonstration that high-level mental processing is required even for subliminal learning.

We are constantly learning new things as we go about our lives. Inaddition to learning new facts, procedures, and concepts, we are alsorefining our sensory abilities. How and when these sensorymodifications take place is the focus of intense study and debate. Innew work, researchers at Boston University and the University ofMontreal unify two lines of research--our understanding of classicallearning and a phenomenon known as the attentional blink--to achieve animportant demonstration that high-level mental processing is requiredeven for subliminal learning.

Subliminal learning is a low-level perceptual learning process thatcan occur without awareness of what is learned, and it is thought tooccur in manner similar to that of learning based on stimuli of whichwe are aware. Previous work has shown that subliminal learning canoccur for motion stimuli that are paired with the targets of aletter-identification task. To investigate whether high-levelprocessing is necessary for unconscious, automatic learning, theauthors build on previous work that had identified what is known as an"attentional blink." This "blink," which is revealed when subjectsattempt to identify certain images shown in rapid succession, has beenshown to result from a bottleneck in high-level processing (such asdecision making and memory encoding) but does not affect perceptual andsemantical processing.

In the new work, published in Current Biology, Dr. Aaron Seitzand colleagues examined whether learning can occur for stimulipresented subliminally during the attentional blink. The authors showthat whereas subjects are able to learn from subliminal stimulipresented outside of the time window of the attentional blink, nolearning occurs for stimuli presented during the attentional blink. Theauthors go on to show that this lack of learning during the attentionalblink is not due to a deficit of sensory processing during the blink,implying that the learning results from an interaction betweenhigh-level and low-level processing. The findings represent animportant step toward increasing our understanding of the mechanismsthat underlie our ability to direct attention to importantenvironmental factors and to learn from them.

###

The researchers include Aaron Seitz and Takeo Watanabe of BostonUniversity in Boston, MA; Christine Lefebvre and Pierre Jolicoeur ofUniversit้ de Montr้al in Montreal, Canada. This work was supported by the NSERC, CRCP, U de M., and NIH.

Seitz et al.: "Requirement for High Level Processing inSubliminal Learning." Publishing in Current Biology, Vol. 15,R753-R755, September 20, 2005. www.current-biology.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Requirement For High-level Mental Processing In Subliminal Learning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926084522.htm>.
Cell Press. (2005, September 27). Requirement For High-level Mental Processing In Subliminal Learning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926084522.htm
Cell Press. "Requirement For High-level Mental Processing In Subliminal Learning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926084522.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) — New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins