Early effects of previous experience on conscious perception

The aim of the present study was to investigate when during the recognition process prior knowledge affects conscious perception. Answering this question is important for theories like predictive coding which postulate that prior knowledge affects conscious perception swiftly and directly. To investigate this issue, we made use of the interindividual variability of perceptual effects of prior knowledge to track the timing of the respective neural processes. We observed that prior knowledge boosts subjective visibility, and that this perceptual gain of prior knowledge is correlated with the neural gain early in time (80–95 ms post-stimulus). This effect was specific to subjective visibility, as there was no correlation with objective discrimination performance. Also, it was specific to prior knowledge as no comparable correlation was observed when investigating the effects of sensory evidence on…


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