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Yih-Shiuan Lin, Su-Ling Yeh; Qualitative difference in categorical priming between conscious and unconscious processing of numbers: Evidence from visual crowding. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):783. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.783.
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The issue whether conscious and unconscious processes are quantitatively or qualitatively different is still hotly debated. We investigated numbers with or without visual crowding—a deleterious perceptual effect of cluttered peripheral stimuli—to examine the influence of crowded or isolated prime on the following target. Eight numbers, belong to either smaller category (1-4) or larger category (6-9), were used as prime and target in a magnitude-comparison task. We manipulated the relationship between prime and target (consistent or inconsistent in magnitude category). Participants were asked to indicate whether the target was larger or smaller than 5. Results showed positive magnitude priming in the crowded condition; response was faster when the prime and target belong to the same magnitude category. In contrast, negative priming (NP)—response was slower for magnitude-consistent prime-target pairs—was found in the isolated condition. This suggests that without awareness, the magnitude of the prime can still be processed to facilitate the response toward the following target of the same magnitude category. With full awareness, response corresponding to the magnitude of the prime is inhibited (since participants were not supposed to respond to it) and interferes with the response toward the target if both numbers belong to the same magnitude category. A flipped-over categorical priming effect is first discovered in numerical stimuli, supporting the hypothesis of qualitative difference between numbers processed consciously and unconsciously.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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