M. Crouzet, Sébastien4; Overgaard, Morten3; Busch, Niko A.4
1 Department of Communication and Psychology, The Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University, VBN2 The Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University, VBN3 Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, The Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University, VBN4 Institute of Medical Psychology, Charité University Medicine, Berlin
Object-substitution masking (OSM) occurs when a briefly presented target in a search array is surrounded by small dots that remain visible after the target disappears. The reduction of target visibility occurring after OSM has been suggested to result from a specific interference with reentrant visual processing while the initial feedforward processing is thought to be left intact. We tested a prediction derived from this hypothesis: the fastest responses, being triggered before the beginning of reentrant processing, should escape the OSM interference. In a saccadic choice reaction time task, which gives access to very early stages of visual processing, target visibility was reduced either by OSM, conventional backward masking, or low stimulus contrast. A general reduction of performance was observed in all three conditions. However, the fastest saccades did not show any sign of interference under either OSM or backward masking, as they did under the low-contrast condition. This finding supports the hypothesis that masking interferes mostly with reentrant processing at later stages, while leaving early feedforward processing largely intact.