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The phenomenon of “entry into awareness” is one of the most challenging puzzles in neuroscience. Research has shown how entry is influenced by processes that are “bottom-up” (e.g., stimulus salience, motion, novelty, incentive and emotional quality) and associated with working memory. Although consciousness is intimately related to action, action-based entry remains under-explored. We review research showing that action-related processing influences the nature of percepts already in conscious awareness and present three experiments that, using a “release-from-masking” technique, examine whether action plans can also influence that which enters awareness in the first place. The present data, though intriguing and consistent with previous research, are not definitive. The limitations and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed. We hope that these experiments will spur further investigation of this understudied topic.
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Dennehy, Tara C.; Cooper, Shanna; Molapour, Tanaz; and Morsella, Ezequiel, "Is There Release from Masking from Isomorphism between Perception and Action?" (2014). Brain Sciences. 42.