Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Many studies have shown that the brain can process subliminal numerals, i.e., participants can categorize a subliminal number into two categories: greater than 5 or less than 5. In the context of many studies on the unconscious integration of multiple subliminal stimuli, the issue of whether multiple subliminal numbers can be integrated is contentious. The same-different task is regarded as a perfect tool to explore unconscious integration. In the two experiments reported, we used a same-different task in which a pair of masked prime numbers was followed by a pair of target numbers, and participants were asked to decide whether the two target numbers were on the same (both smaller or larger than 5) or different sides (one smaller, the other larger than 5) of 5 in magnitude. The results indicated that the prime numbers could be categorized unconsciously, which was reflected by the category priming effect, and that the unconscious category relationship of the two prime numbers could affect the judgment on the category relationship of the two target numbers, as reflected by the response priming effect. The duration of the prime-to-target interstimulus interval (ISI) was also manipulated, showing a positive compatibility effect (PCE) of category priming and a negative compatibility effect (NCE) of response priming no matter whether the ISI was short (50 ms) or long (150 ms). The NCE, which occurred when the prime-to-target ISI was relatively short in this study, contradicted the conventional view but was consistent with previous results of unconscious integration based on an attention modulation mechanism. Importantly, this study provided evidence for the still-under-debate issue of numerical information integration.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Behavioral Sciences



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Psychology Commons



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