Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2007 | 3 | 1-2 | 193-210

Article title

Disentangling neural processing of masked and masking stimulus by means of event-related contralateral — ipsilateral differences of EEG potentials

Selected contents from this journal

Title variants

Languages of publication


In spite of the excellent temporal resolution of event-related EEG potentials (ERPs), the overlapping potentials evoked by masked and masking stimuli are hard to disentangle. However, when both masked and masking stimuli consist of pairs of relevant and irrelevant stimuli, one left and one right from fixation, with the side of the relevant element varying between pairs, effects of masked and masking stimuli can be distinguished by means of the contralateral preponderance of the potentials evoked by the relevant elements, because the relevant elements may independently change sides in masked and masking stimuli. Based on a reanalysis of data from which only selected contralateral-ipsilateral effects had been previously published, the present contribution will provide a more complete picture of the ERP effects in a masked-priming task. Indeed, effects evoked by masked primes and masking targets heavily overlapped in conventional ERPs and could be disentangled to a certain degree by contralateral-ipsilateral differences. Their major component, the N2pc, is interpreted as indicating preferential processing of stimuli matching the target template, which process can neither be identified with conscious perception nor with shifts of spatial attention. The measurements showed that the triggering of response preparation by the masked stimuli did not depend on their discriminability, and their priming effects on the processing of the following target stimuli were qualitatively different for stimulus identification and for response preparation. These results provide another piece of evidence for the independence of motor-related and perception-related effects of masked stimuli.








Physical description


  • Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Germany
  • Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Finance and Management, Warszawa, Poland


  • Winkler, I., Czigler, I., Sussman, E., Horváth, J., & Balász, L. (2005). Preattentive binding of auditory and visual stimulus features.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17, 320-339.
  • Woldorff, M. (1993). Distortion of ERP averages due to overlap from temporally adjacent ERPs: analysis and correction.Psychophysiology, 30, 98-119.
  • Birbaumer, N., Elbert, T., Canavan, A. G. M., & Rockstroh, B. (1990). Slow potentials of the cerebral cortex and behavior.Physiological Reviews, 70, 1-41.[PubMed]
  • Carmel, D., & Bentin, S. (2002). Domain specificity versus expertise: factors influencing distinct processing of faces.Cognition, 83, 1-29.[PubMed]
  • Coles, M. G. H. (1989). Modern mind-brain reading: psychophysiology, physiology, and cognition.Psychophysiology, 26, 251-269.[PubMed]
  • Czigler, I., Balázs, L., & Winkler, I. (2002). Memory-based detection of task-irrelevant visual changes.Psychophysiology, 39, 869-873.[PubMed]
  • Debener, S., Ullsperger, M., Siegel, M., Fiehler, K., von Cramon, D. Y., & Engel, A. K. (2005). Trial-by-trial coupling of concurrent electroencephalogram and functional magnetic resonance imaging identifies the dynamics of performance monitoring.Journal of Neuroscience, 25, 11730-11737.[PubMed]
  • Dehaene, S., Naccache, L., Le Clec'H, G., Koechlin, E., Mueller, M., Dehaene-Lambertz, G., van de Moortele, P.-F., & Le Bihan, D. (1998). Imaging unconscious semantic priming.Nature, 395, 597-600.[PubMed]
  • Deouell, L., Amihai, I., & Bentin, S. (2006, June). Discriminating faces from other objects with and without conscious awareness: distinct and overlapping processes. Poster presented at the 10thgathering of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, Oxford.
  • Donkers, F. C. L., & van Boxtel, G. J. M. (2004). The N2 in go/no-go tasks reflects conflict monitoring not response inhibition.Brain and Cognition, 56, 165-176.[PubMed]
  • Eimer, M. (1996). The N2pc component as an indicator of attentional selectivity.Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 99, 225-234.[PubMed]
  • Eimer, M., & Schlaghecken, F. (1998). Effects of masked stimuli on motor activation: behavioral and electrophysiological evidence.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 24, 1737-1747.[PubMed]
  • Gauthier, I., Curran, T., Curby, K. M., & Collins, D. (2003). Perceptual interference supports a non-modular account of face processing.Nature Neuroscience, 6, 428-432.[PubMed]
  • Hanslmayr, S., Klimesch, W., Sauseng, P., Gruber, W., Doppelmayr, M., Freunberger, R., Pecherstorfer, T., & Birbaumer, N. (2007). Alpha phase reset contributes to generation of ERPs.Cerebral Cortex, 17, 1-8.[PubMed]
  • Hopf, J.-M., Luck, S. J., Boelmans, M. A., Schoenfeld, M. A., Boehler, C. N., Rieger, J., & Heinze, H.-J. (2006). The neural site of attention matches the spatial scale of perception.Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 3532-3540.[PubMed]
  • Jaśkowski, P., & Verleger, R. (2007). What determines the direction of subliminal priming.Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 3, 181-192.http://www.ac-psych.org/index.php?id=2&rok=2007&issue=1-2#article_48
  • Jaśkowski, P., Skalska, B., & Verleger, R. (2003). How the self controls its "automatic pilot" when processing subliminal information.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 15, 911-920.[PubMed]
  • Jaśkowski, P., van der Lubbe, R. H. J., Schlotterbeck, E., & Verleger, R. (2002). Traces left on visual selective attention by stimuli that are not consciously identified.Psychological Science, 13, 48-54.[PubMed]
  • Leuthold, H., & Kopp, B. (1998). Mechanisms of priming by masked stimuli: inferences from event-related brain potentials.Psychological Science, 9, 263-269.
  • Logothetis, N. K., Pauls, J., Augath, M., Trinath, T., & Oeltermann, A. (2001). Neurophysiological investigation of the basis of the fMRI signal.Nature, 412, 150-157.[PubMed]
  • Luck, S. J. (2005).An introduction to the event-related potential technique.Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press.
  • Luck, S. J., & Hillyard, S.A. (1994). Electrophysiological correlates of feature analysis during visual search.Psychophysiology, 31, 291-308.[PubMed]
  • Lutzenberger, W., Elbert, T., & Rockstroh, B. (1987). A brief tutorial on the implications of volume conduction for the interpretation of the EEG.Journal of Psychophysiology, 1, 81-89.
  • Makeig, S., Westerfield, M., Jung, T.-P., Enghoff, S., Townsend, J., Courchesne, E., & Sejnowski, T.J. (2002). Dynamic brain sources of visual evoked responses.Science, 295, 690-694.[PubMed]
  • Milner, A.D., & Goodale, M.A. (1995).The visual brain in action.Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Müsseler, J., & Hommel, B. (1997). Blindness to response-compatible stimuli.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 23, 861-872.[PubMed]
  • Näätänen, R., & Winkler, I. (1999). The concept of auditory stimulus representation in cognitive neuroscience.Psychological Bulletin, 125, 826-859.[PubMed]
  • Nieuwenhuis, S., Ridderinkhof, K.R., Blom, J., Band, G.P.H., & Kok, A. (2001). Error-related brain potentials are differentially related to awareness of response errors: evidence from an antisaccade task.Psychophysiology, 38, 752-760.[PubMed]
  • Ojanen, V., Revonsuo, A., & Sams, M. (2003). Visual awareness of low-contrast stimuli is reflected in event-related brain potentials.Psychophysiology, 40, 192-197.[PubMed]
  • Pazo-Alvarez, P., Cadaveira, F., & Amenedo, E. (2003). MMN in the visual modality: a review.Biological Psychology, 63, 199-236.[PubMed]
  • Praamstra, P., & Oostenveld, R. (2003). Attention and movement-related motor cortex activation: a high-density EEG study of spatial stimulus-response compatibility.Cognitive Brain Research, 16, 309-322.[PubMed]
  • Rees, G., Russell, C., Frith, C.D., & Driver, J. (1999). Inattentional blindness versus inattentional amnesia for fixated but ignored words.Science, 286, 2504-2507.[PubMed]
  • Sable, J.J., Low, K.A., Maclin, E.L., Fabiani, M., & Gratton, G. (2004). Latent inhibition mediates N1 attenuation to repeating sounds.Psychophysiology, 41, 636-642.[PubMed]
  • Scharlau, I. (2007). Assessing perceptual consequences of masked information.Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 3, 241-255.http://www.ac-psych.org/index.php?id=2&rok=2007&issue=1-2#article_52
  • Sessa, P., Luria, R., Verleger, R., & Dell'Acqua, R. (2007). P3 latency shifts in the attentional blink: Further evidence for second target processing.Brain Research, 1137, 131-139.[PubMed]
  • Treccani, B., Umiltà, C., & Tagliabue, M. (2006). Simon effect with and without awareness of the accessory stimulus.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32, 268-286.[PubMed]
  • van der Lubbe, R. H. J., & Verleger, R. (2002). Aging and the Simon task.Psychophysiology, 39, 100-110.[PubMed]
  • van der Lubbe, R. H. J., & Woestenburg, J.C. (1999). The influence of peripheral precues on the tendency to react towards a lateral relevant stimulus with multiple-item arrays.Biological Psychology, 51, 1-21.
  • VanRullen, R., & Thorpe, S.J. (2001). The time course of visual processing: from early perception to decision-making.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 13, 454-461.
  • Verleger, R. (1997). On the utility of P3 latency as an index of mental chronometry.Psychophysiology, 34, 131-156.
  • Verleger, R., Görgen, S., & Jaśkowski, P. (2005). An ERP indicator of processing relevant gestalts in masked priming.Psychophysiology, 42, 677-690.
  • Verleger, R. & Jaśkowski, P. (2006). Effects of masked stimulion attention and response tendencies as revealed by event-related EEGpotentials: Possible application to understanding neglect. In H. Ogmen & B. Breitmeyer (Eds.), The first half second (pp. 225-241).Cambridge, London: MITPress.
  • Verleger, R., Jaśkowski, P., Aydemir, A., van der Lubbe, R. H. J., & Groen, M. (2004). Qualitative differences between conscious and non-conscious processing? On inverse priming induced by masked arrows.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133, 494-515.
  • Verleger, R., Jaśkowski, P., & Wascher, E. (2005). Evidence for an integrative role of P3b in linking reaction to perception.Journal of Psychophysiology, 19, 165-181.
  • Vogel, E. K., & Luck, S. J. (2002). Delayed working memory consolidation during the attentional blink.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 9, 739-743.
  • Vorberg, D., Mattler, U., Heinecke, A., Schmidt, T., & Schwarzbach, J. (2003). Different time-courses for visual perception and action priming.Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 100, 6275-6280.
  • Vuilleumier, P., Sagiv, N., Hazeltine, E., Poldrack, R. A., Swick, D., Rafal, R. D., & Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2001). Neural fate of seen and unseen faces in visuospatial neglect: a combined event-related functional MRI and event-related potential study.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98, 3495-3500.
  • Wang, Y., Tian, S., Wang, H., Cui, L., Zhang, Y., & Zhang, X. (2003). Event-related potentials evoked by multi-feature conflict under different attentive conditions.Experimental Brain Research, 148, 451-457.
  • Wang, Y., Cui, L., Wang, H., Tian, S., & Zhang, X. (2004). The sequential processing of visual feature conjunction mismatches in the human brain.Psychophysiology, 41, 21-29.
  • Wascher, E., & Wauschkuhn, B. (1996). The interaction of stimulus- and response-related processes measured by event-related lateralisations of the EEG.Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 99, 149-162.
  • Wauschkuhn, B., Verleger, R., Wascher, E., Klostermann, W., Burk, M., Heide, W., & Kömpf, D. (1998). Lateralised human cortical activity for shifting visuospatial attention and initiating saccades.Journal of Neurophysiology, 80, 2900-2910.
  • Woodman, G.F., & Luck, S.J. (2003). Dissociations among attention, perception, and awareness during object-substitution masking.Psychological Science, 14, 605-611.
  • Yeung, N., Bogacz, R., Holroyd, C. B., & Cohen, J. D. (2004). Detection of synchronized oscillations in the electroencephalogram: An evaluation of methods.Psychophysiology, 41, 822-832.
  • Zani, A., & Proverbio, A. M. (2002).The cognitive electrophysiology of mind and brain.San Diego / London: Academic Press.
  • Zschocke, S. (2002).Klinische Elektroenzephalographie.Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Kanwisher, N. G. (1987). Repetition blindness: Type recognition without token individuation.Cognition, 27, 117-143.[PubMed]
  • Klotz, W., & Neumann, O. (1999). Motor activation without conscious discrimination in metacontrast masking.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 25, 976-992.
  • Koivisto, M., Revonsuo, A., & Salminen, N. (2005). Independence of visual awareness from attention at early processing stages.NeuroReport, 16, 817-821.[PubMed]
  • Kok, A. (1986). Effects of degradation of visual stimuli on components of the event-related potential (ERP) in go/nogo reaction tasks.Biological Psychology, 23, 21-38.[PubMed]
  • Kopp, B., Mattler, U., Goertz, R., & Rist, F. (1996). N2, P3 and the lateralized readiness potential in a nogo task involving selective response priming.Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 99, 19-27.[PubMed]
  • Kopp, B., Rist, F., & Mattler, U. (1996). N200 in the flanker task as a neurobehavioral tool for investigating executive control.Psychophysiology, 33, 282-294.[PubMed]
  • Kutas, M., & Federmeier, K.D. (1998). Minding the body.Psychophysiology, 35, 135-150.[PubMed]
  • Lamme, V. A. F. (2003). Why visual attention and awareness are different.Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 12-18.[PubMed]
  • Bartholow, B. D., Pearson, M. A., Dickter, C. L., Sher, K. J., Fabiani, M., & Gratton, G. (2005). Strategic control and medial frontal negativity: Beyond errors and response conflict.Psychophysiology, 42, 33-42.[PubMed]
  • Belopolsky, A. V., & Kramer, A. F. (2006). Error-processing of oculomotor capture.Brain Research, 1081, 171-178.[PubMed]

Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.