Conscious awareness modulates processing speed in the Redundant Signal Effect

Anna Matilda Helena Cederblad* (Corresponding Author), Aleksandar Visokomogilski, Søren K. Andersen, Mary Macleod, Arash Sahraie

*Corresponding author for this work

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Evidence for the influence of unaware signals on behaviour has been reported in both patient groups and healthy observers using the Redundant Signal Effect (RSE). The RSE refers to faster manual reaction times to the onset of multiple simultaneously presented target than those to a single stimulus. These findings are robust and apply to unimodal and multi-modal sensory inputs. A number
of studies on neurologically impaired cases have demonstrated that RSE can be found even in the absence of conscious experience of the redundant signals. Here, we investigated behavioural changes associated with awareness in healthy observers by using Continuous Flash Suppression to render observers unaware of redundant targets. Across three experiments, we found an association between reaction times to the onset of a consciously perceived target and the reported level of visual awareness of the redundant target, with higher awareness being associated with faster reaction times. However, in the absence of any awareness of the redundant target, we found no evidence for speeded reaction times and even weak evidence for an inhibitory effect (slowing down of reaction times) on response to the seen target. These findings reveal marked differences between healthy observers and blindsight patients in how aware and unaware information from different locations is integrated in the RSE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1877–1893
Number of pages17
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Early online date17 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Open Access via the Springer Compact Agreeement

We would like to thank Mr James Urquhart for technical support. This work was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) [grant number BB/M010996/1]


  • Redundant Signal Effect
  • Visual awareness
  • Continuous flash suppression

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