Honours Student
Department of Psychology and Counselling
School of Psychology and Public Health
La Trobe University

Sigmund Freud once said, “the conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises”.  Now, over one-hundred years later, some of Freud’s ideas may seem ludicrous, many psychologist and fellow researchers still share his fascination with the conscious experience and the role of the subconscious today.

It is generally accepted that vision is required for a conscious experience to occur.  However, if an image is rendered perceptually invisible, is someone still able to process that information?  There is a growing body of research suggesting this is the case which forms the basis of my honour’s thesis.  My thesis will use continuous flash suppression and other masking techniques to render visual stimuli perceptually invisible.  Of particular interest is the subconscious processing of emotionally salient stimuli.  A galvanic skin response will be used to help determine if a physical fear response occurs despite an image being rendered perceptually invisible.  It is hoped that findings from this thesis can further add to the understanding of the conscious and subconscious experience.