Is there a stimulus-driven attention without awareness?
A long-standing debate is whether awareness is dissociable from attention. Previous work in support of a dissociation between stimulus-driven attention and awareness has used spatial-cueing paradigms. A critical review of these previous works shows that they either had logical shortcomings or did not meet conditions of complete perceptual unawareness. One study, however, met all criteria for conclusive evidence of stimulus-driven attention in the absence of awareness (Mulckhuyse et al., 2007). After parsing out the data in a cue-localization task an alternative explanation for their findings can be evoked without appealing to the deployment of stimulus-driven attention without awareness. It is possible that differential awareness of cues across experimental conditions may be sufficient to explain the claims of stimulus-driven attention without awareness in this prior work. However, we did not replicate the study, leading us to question the validity of SDA in Mulckhuyse et al. (2007) study design. Our findings lead us to conclude that there is currently no compelling evidence that stimulus-driven attention can occur without awareness of the attention-capturing stimulus.