Integrating Events Across Levels of Consciousness

Henke, Katharina; Reber, Thomas P.; Duss, Simone B. (2013). Integrating Events Across Levels of Consciousness. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 7(68), pp. 1-10. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00068

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Our knowledge grows as we integrate events experienced at different points in time. We may or may not become aware of events, their integration, and their impact on our knowledge and decisions. But can we mentally integrate two events, if they are experienced at different time points and at different levels of consciousness? In this study, an event consisted of the presentation of two unrelated words. In the stream of events, half of events shared one component ("tree desk" … "desk fish") to facilitate event integration. We manipulated the amount of time and trials that separated two corresponding events. The contents of one event were presented subliminally (invisible) and the contents of the corresponding overlapping event supraliminally (visible). Hence, event integration required the binding of contents between consciousness levels and between time points. At the final test of integration, participants judged whether two supraliminal test words ("tree fish") fit together semantically or not. Unbeknown to participants, half of test words were episodically related through an overlap ("desk"; experimental condition) and half were not (control condition). Participants judged episodically related test words to be closer semantically than unrelated test words. This subjective decrease in the semantic distance between test words was both independent of whether the invisible event was encoded first or second in order and independent of the number of trials and the time that separated two corresponding events. Hence, conscious and unconscious memories were mentally integrated into a linked mnemonic representation.

Item Type: Journal Article (Original Article)
Division/Institute: 07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)
UniBE Contributor: Henke, Katharina; Reber, Thomas and Duss, Simone
Subjects: 100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
ISSN: 1662-5153
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Language: English
Submitter: Anna Maria Ruprecht
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2014 15:19
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2014 16:59
Publisher DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00068
PubMed ID: 23785318
BORIS DOI: 10.7892/boris.45872
URI: http://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/45872

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