When viewing ambiguous displays, observers can, via intentional efforts, affect which perceptual interpretation they perceive. Specifically, observers can increase the probability of seeing the desired percept. Little is known, however, about how intentional efforts interact with sensory inputs in exerting their effects on perception. In two experiments, the current study explored the possibility that intentional efforts might operate by multiplicatively enhancing the stimulus-based activation of the desired perceptual representation. Such a possibility is suggested by recent neurophysiological research on attention. In support of this idea, when we presented bistable apparent motion displays under stimulus conditions differentially favoring one motion percept over the other, observers' intentional efforts to see a particular motion were generally more effective under conditions in which stimulus factors favored the intended motion percept.
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