Immediate and long-term priming effects are independent of prime awareness

Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1793-1800 (2011)
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Subliminal primes are assumed to produce weaker and short-lived effects on subsequent behavior compared to clearly visible primes. However, this difference in priming effect may be due to differences in signal strength, rather than level of awareness. In the present study we manipulated prime discriminability by using metacontrast masks and pseudomasks, while keeping the prime strength equal. This manipulation resulted in large differences in discriminability of the primes. However, both immediate response priming and long-term response priming was equal for the poorly discriminable and well discriminable primes, and equal for groups that differed markedly in terms of how well they could discriminate the primes. Our findings imply that discriminability of information is independent of both the immediate and long-term effects that information can have on behavior.



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