Emma Cox

4th Year Honours Student
Department of Psychology and Counselling
School of Psychology and Public Health
La Trobe University

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I am intrigued and fascinated by the mysteries of consciousness, a phenomenon which has eluded philosophers and scientists alike for hundreds of years.  A pivotal question to consciousness is the fate of unconscious information and how it is processed in the brain. An answer to this question could help reveal the distinctions between consciousness and unconsciousness.

In answering this question, stimuli must be rendered invisible using a psychophysical method. My project will look at visual consciousness using the methods of continuous flash suppression and backward masking. I will examine the unconscious processing of neutral (e.g. houses and cars) and emotionally salient stimuli (e.g. snakes and spiders) to investigate whether the two suppression methods result in differential processing of this invisible information, a finding which may provide some explanation for inconsistent findings in the visual research literature.