Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Unconscious integration of pointing relation between two masked arrows

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In the present study, by using a briefly masked prime display paradigm, we investigated whether the pointing relation (same or different) between two unconsciously perceived arrows in the prime could be processed. Since only motor response priming can reflect unconscious processing of two arrows’ pointing-direction relation (i.e., a relational integration), we could distinguish the motor response priming from the visual priming in this study which in other studies were not separated. We also manipulated the prime-to-target stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA) by using a 70 ms and a 180 ms SOA. In this experiment, two masked arrow signs pointing in the same or different directions (> > or > <) were simultaneously presented in the prime, followed by two arrow symbols also pointing in the same or different directions in the target. The participants were asked to decide whether the two arrows in the target were pointing in the same or different directions. The results did not show any visual priming effect, but did show that the unconsciously perceived pointing relation in the prime elicited a positive motor response priming effect in RT under the 70 ms SOA condition, and a negative motor response priming effect in accuracy under the 180 ms SOA condition. The results were discussed in terms of self-motor-inhibition (or mask-triggered inhibition) and attention mechanisms. Overall, this study indicated that the pointing relation between the two subliminal arrows in the prime could influence the subsequent responses to the target and suggested that people can integrate unconsciously perceived information.


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Publication Title

Visual Cognition