Conscious awareness of methodological choices: A reply to Milberg and McGlinchey (2010)

Marlene Behrmann, Sarah Shomstein, Ruth Kimchi

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Milberg and McGlinchey (2010) claim that the conclusions we reach in "Perceptual Grouping Operates Independently of Attentional Selection: Evidence From Hemispatial Neglect" are unwarranted. Specifically, it is asserted that insufficient methodological control was exerted over the attentional status of the patients and that partial attention to the contralesional field could have resulted in the congruency effects we observe. Although we agree with their methodological cautions in general, we argue that our investigation is, in fact, methodologically sound. In particular, we reiterate and highlight that our investigation is unprecedented in the characterization of a patient sample with multiple clinical, psychophysical, and experimental measures; in our use of a stringent, rigidly controlled paradigm specifically designed for investigating perceptual grouping without awareness; in our modification of the experimental procedure to make it even more stringent; and in our specific methodological choices for comparison/control conditions within this experimental paradigm. We also demonstrate that partial attention to the contralesional left cannot support the robust congruency effects we observe. In light of this, we remain confident of our interpretation of our findings and suggest that perceptual grouping can indeed operate in the absence of attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-627
Number of pages6
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH54246 to M.B. and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Grant NS07391-09 to S.S.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language


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