Multiple serial picture presentation with millisecond resolution using a three-way LC-shutter-tachistoscope

  • Fischmeister F
  • Leodolter U
  • Windischberger C
 et al. 
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Throughout recent years there has been an increasing interest in studying unconscious visual processes. Such conditions of unawareness are typically achieved by either a sufficient reduction of the stimulus presentation time or visual masking. However, there are growing concerns about the reliability of the presentation devices used. As all these devices show great variability in presentation parameters, the processing of visual stimuli becomes dependent on the display-device, e.g. minimal changes in the physical stimulus properties may have an enormous impact on stimulus processing by the sensory system and on the actual experience of the stimulus. Here we present a custom-built three-way LC-shutter-tachistoscope which allows experimental setups with both, precise and reliable stimulus delivery, and millisecond resolution. This tachistoscope consists of three LCD-projectors equipped with zoom lenses to enable stimulus presentation via a built-in mirror-system onto a back projection screen from an adjacent room. Two high-speed liquid crystal shutters are mounted serially in front of each projector to control the stimulus duration. To verify the intended properties empirically, different sequences of presentation times were performed while changes in optical power were measured using a photoreceiver. The obtained results demonstrate that interfering variabilities in stimulus parameters and stimulus rendering are markedly reduced. Together with the possibility to collect external signals and to send trigger-signals to other devices, this tachistoscope represents a highly flexible and easy to set up research tool not only for the study of unconscious processing in the brain but for vision research in general. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Humans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Reproducibility of results
  • Subliminal stimulation
  • Tachistoscope
  • Time factors
  • Visual perception

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