Coherence across consciousness levels: Symmetric visual displays spare working memory resources

Dumitru M. L.

CONSCIOUSNESS AND COGNITION, vol.38, pp.139-149, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.10.007
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.139-149
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


Two studies demonstrate that the need for coherence could nudge individuals to use structural similarities between binary visual displays and two concurrent cognitive tasks to unduly solve the latter in similar fashion. In an overt truth-judgement task, participants decided whether symmetric colourful displays matched conjunction or disjunction descriptions (e.g., "the black and/or the orange"). In the simultaneous covert categorisation task, they decided whether a colour name (e.g., "black") described a two-colour object or half of a single-colour object. Two response patterns emerged as follows. Participants either acknowledged or rejected matches between disjunction descriptions and two visual stimuli and, similarly, either acknowledged or rejected matches between single colour names and two-colour objects or between single colour names and half of single-colour objects. These findings confirm the coherence hypothesis, highlight the role of coherence in preserving working-memory resources, and demonstrate an interaction between high-level and low-level consciousness. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.