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Ziv Peremen, Rinat Hilo, Dominique Lamy; Visual consciousness and intertrial feature priming. Journal of Vision 2013;13(5):1. doi: 10.1167/13.5.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Intertrial repetition priming plays a striking role in visual search. For instance, when searching for a target with a unique color, performance is substantially better when the specific color of the target repeats on successive trials (Maljkovic & Nakayama, 1994). Recent research has relied on objective measures of performance to show that priming improves the perceptual quality of the repeated target. Here, we examined the relation between priming and conscious perception of the target by adding a subjective measure of perception. We used backward masking to create liminal perception, that is, different levels of subjectively conscious perception of the target using exactly the same stimulus conditions. The displays in either probe trials (in which priming benefits are measured, Experiment 1) or in prime trials (in which memory traces are laid down, Experiment 2) were masked. The results showed that intertrial priming improves full access to awareness of the repeated target but only for targets that already achieved partial access to awareness. In addition, they show that full awareness of the target is necessary in both the prime and probe trials for intertrial priming effects to emerge. Implications for the role of implicit short-term memory in visual search are discussed.
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