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Color assimilation without awareness of color context

53.440, Tuesday, 20-May, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, Banyan Breezeway
Session: Color and light: Cognition

Marjan Persuh1, Tatiana Aloi Emmanouil1, Tony Ro1; 1Department of Psychology and Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, The City College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Contextual effects are ubiquitous in color perception. For example, in color assimilation, the color of an object shifts towards the color of the inducing context. However, it is unknown whether this effect requires awareness of the inducing color context. We used our recently developed perceptual overloading technique (POT), which allows for extensive unconscious processing through repeated exposures, to test whether color assimilation occurs even when the inducing context is presented unconsciously. We presented two identically colored objects in two different color contexts, over several cycles, interleaved among colored masks. Although participants in the experiment were unaware of the inducing color contexts, they experienced color assimilation effects and reported perceiving the two identical disks as being different in color. These results demonstrate that color assimilation does not require awareness of the inducing color context and that the unconscious processing of these color contexts can have direct influences on the qualities of conscious color perception.

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