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Top-down modulation of unconscious 'automatic' processes: A gating framework.

Kiefer M - Adv Cogn Psychol (2008)

Bottom Line: It is assumed that task representations held in prefrontal cortex regulate the gain of neurons in visual and sematic association cortex thereby modulating the effects of unconsciously perceived masked stimuli on further 'automatic' information processing steps.These results support the view that unconscious automatic processes are modulated by top-down factors.They are suggestive of a gating mechanism which orchestrates the conscious and unconscious information processing streams.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Ulm, Department of Psychiatry, Germany.

ABSTRACT
In classical theories of automaticity, automatic processes are usually thought to occur autonomously and independently of higher level top-down factors (e.g., Posner & Snyder, 1975). However, already Neumann (1984) pointed out that the cognitive system has to be configured in a certain way for automatic processes to occur. In extension of his work, I propose a gating framework to account for the influence of top-down factors such as attention, intention and task set on automatic processes such as masked response or semantic priming. It is assumed that task representations held in prefrontal cortex regulate the gain of neurons in visual and sematic association cortex thereby modulating the effects of unconsciously perceived masked stimuli on further 'automatic' information processing steps. In support of the postulated gating framework, recent studies demonstrated a top-down modulation of automatic processes. Behavioral and electrophysiological studies with the masked response priming and semantic priming paradigms show that masked priming effects crucially depend (i) on temporal attention to the masked prime, (ii) on intentions or action plans and (iii) on the task set active immediately before masked prime presentation. For instance, masked semantic priming was only observed when the preceding task set required the orientation to semantic word features, but not when it required orientation to perceptual word features. These results support the view that unconscious automatic processes are modulated by top-down factors. They are suggestive of a gating mechanism which orchestrates the conscious and unconscious information processing streams.

No MeSH data available.


Attentional modulation of ERP priming effects. Mean voltages from						centro-parietal electrodes in the time window (A) of the descending N400						(200-399) and (B) of the N400 peak (400-599 ms) as a function the cue prime						interval (CPI) and prime-target SOA (Experiment 1). Voltages were collapsed						across electrode sites. In both time windows N400 priming effects were						largest at the short CPI/short SOA condition demonstrating an attentional						modulation of masked semantic priming (after Kiefer and Brendel, 2006).
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Figure 6: Attentional modulation of ERP priming effects. Mean voltages from centro-parietal electrodes in the time window (A) of the descending N400 (200-399) and (B) of the N400 peak (400-599 ms) as a function the cue prime interval (CPI) and prime-target SOA (Experiment 1). Voltages were collapsed across electrode sites. In both time windows N400 priming effects were largest at the short CPI/short SOA condition demonstrating an attentional modulation of masked semantic priming (after Kiefer and Brendel, 2006).


Top-down modulation of unconscious 'automatic' processes: A gating framework.

Kiefer M - Adv Cogn Psychol (2008)

Attentional modulation of ERP priming effects. Mean voltages from						centro-parietal electrodes in the time window (A) of the descending N400						(200-399) and (B) of the N400 peak (400-599 ms) as a function the cue prime						interval (CPI) and prime-target SOA (Experiment 1). Voltages were collapsed						across electrode sites. In both time windows N400 priming effects were						largest at the short CPI/short SOA condition demonstrating an attentional						modulation of masked semantic priming (after Kiefer and Brendel, 2006).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2864982&req=5

Figure 6: Attentional modulation of ERP priming effects. Mean voltages from centro-parietal electrodes in the time window (A) of the descending N400 (200-399) and (B) of the N400 peak (400-599 ms) as a function the cue prime interval (CPI) and prime-target SOA (Experiment 1). Voltages were collapsed across electrode sites. In both time windows N400 priming effects were largest at the short CPI/short SOA condition demonstrating an attentional modulation of masked semantic priming (after Kiefer and Brendel, 2006).
Bottom Line: It is assumed that task representations held in prefrontal cortex regulate the gain of neurons in visual and sematic association cortex thereby modulating the effects of unconsciously perceived masked stimuli on further 'automatic' information processing steps.These results support the view that unconscious automatic processes are modulated by top-down factors.They are suggestive of a gating mechanism which orchestrates the conscious and unconscious information processing streams.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Ulm, Department of Psychiatry, Germany.

ABSTRACT
In classical theories of automaticity, automatic processes are usually thought to occur autonomously and independently of higher level top-down factors (e.g., Posner & Snyder, 1975). However, already Neumann (1984) pointed out that the cognitive system has to be configured in a certain way for automatic processes to occur. In extension of his work, I propose a gating framework to account for the influence of top-down factors such as attention, intention and task set on automatic processes such as masked response or semantic priming. It is assumed that task representations held in prefrontal cortex regulate the gain of neurons in visual and sematic association cortex thereby modulating the effects of unconsciously perceived masked stimuli on further 'automatic' information processing steps. In support of the postulated gating framework, recent studies demonstrated a top-down modulation of automatic processes. Behavioral and electrophysiological studies with the masked response priming and semantic priming paradigms show that masked priming effects crucially depend (i) on temporal attention to the masked prime, (ii) on intentions or action plans and (iii) on the task set active immediately before masked prime presentation. For instance, masked semantic priming was only observed when the preceding task set required the orientation to semantic word features, but not when it required orientation to perceptual word features. These results support the view that unconscious automatic processes are modulated by top-down factors. They are suggestive of a gating mechanism which orchestrates the conscious and unconscious information processing streams.

No MeSH data available.