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1.  Roles of contour and surface processing in microgenesis of object perception and visual consciousness 
Developments in visual neuroscience and neural-network modeling indicate the existence of separate pathways for the processing of form and surface attributes of a visual object. In line with prior theoretical proposals, it is assumed that the processing of form can be explicit or conscious only as or after the surface property such as color is filled in. In conjunction with extant psychophysical findings, these developments point to interesting distinctions between nonconscious and conscious processing of these attributes, specifically in relation to distinguishable temporal dynamics. At nonconscious levels form processing proceeds faster than surface processing, whereas in contrast, at conscious levels form processing proceeds slower than surface processing. I mplications of separate form and surface processing for current and future psychophysical and neuroscientific research, particularly that relating cortical oscillations to conjunctions of surface and form features, and for cognitive science and philosophy of mind and consciousness are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3259033  PMID: 22253670
conscious visual processing; contour; nonconscious visual processing; surface color; surface contrast; temporal dynamics
2.  Visual masking: past accomplishments, present status, future developments 
Visual masking, throughout its history, has been used as an investigative tool in exploring the temporal dynamics of visual perception, beginning with retinal processes and ending in cortical processes concerned with the conscious registration of stimuli. However, visual masking also has been a phenomenon deemed worthy of study in its own right. Most of the recent uses of visual masking have focused on the study of central processes, particularly those involved in feature, object and scene representations, in attentional control mechanisms, and in phenomenal awareness. In recent years our understanding of the phenomenon and cortical mechanisms of visual masking also has benefited from several brain imaging techniques and from a number of sophisticated and neurophysiologically plausible neural network models. Key issues and problems are discussed with the aim of guiding future empirical and theoretical research.
PMCID: PMC2864971  PMID: 20517494
masking; neural networks; nonconscious/conscious processing; object perception

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