September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Visual and semantic subliminal priming by two unrelated images
Author Affiliations
  • Muge Erol
    New School for Social Research
  • Arien Mack
    New School for Social Research
  • Lindsey Holder
    New School for Social Research
  • John Bert
    New School for Social Research
  • Jason Clarke
    New School for Social Research
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 942. doi:
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      Muge Erol, Arien Mack, Lindsey Holder, John Bert, Jason Clarke; Visual and semantic subliminal priming by two unrelated images. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):942.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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There is little question that single visual images can subliminally prime (Bar & Biederman, 1998) but the question of whether multiple, unrelated visual objects also can subliminally prime is not clear. Two experiments, explored whether subliminal presentations of two unrelated, visual objects would each independently prime. Experiment 1 (N=22) had 180 primed and 60 non-primed trials. On primed trials two black on white line drawings of familiar objects were presented left (image a) and right (image b) of fixation for 14 ms, backward masked, and followed by 2 visible test images. Observers reported whether the test images were the same or different. Response times (RT) were recorded. When the test items were the same, they were a-a or b-b. When different, they were the prime pair itself, (a-b). Each prime pair was shown three times as a target and 3 times as a prime. On non-primed trials a blank screen preceded the mask, which was followed by 2 not previously shown images, either the same or different. RTs in primed and non-primed trials were compared. The final condition, a visibility check consisted of 120 trials, 60 with and 60 without the subliminal original prime pairs and confirmed that primes were largely unidentifiable. On average, only 4 of the 120 flashed images, which by now had been shown 7 times, were identifiable. Priming was confirmed by the fact that RTs on primed trials were significantly faster than on non-primed trials in the same (p< .05) and different conditions (p< .05). Experiment 2 (N=22) asked whether the images primed semantically by exchanging the target images for single descriptive words. Otherwise the procedure was identical. We again found significant priming for same (p< .01) and different responses (p< .05). The combined results confirm that two unrelated, subliminal images can both visually and semantically prime.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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