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When Perception Trumps Reality: Perceived, Not Objective, Meaning of Primes Drives Stroop Priming
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
Number of Authors: 22017 (English)In: Psychological Science, ISSN 0956-7976, E-ISSN 1467-9280, Vol. 28, no 3, p. 346-355Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Is semantic priming driven by the objective or perceived meaning of the priming stimulus? This question is relevant given that many studies suggest that the objective meaning of invisible stimuli can influence cognitive processes and behavior. In an experiment involving 66 participants, we tested how the perceived meaning of misperceived stimuli influenced response times. Stroop priming (i.e., longer response times for incongruent than for congruent prime-target pairs) was observed in trials in which the prime was correctly identified. However, reversed Stroop priming was observed when the prime stimulus was incorrectly identified. Even in trials in which participants reported no perception of the prime and identified the primes at close to chance level (i.e., trials that meet both subjective and objective definitions of being subliminal), Stroop priming corresponded to perceived congruency, not objective congruency. This result suggests that occasional weak percepts and mispercepts are intermixed with no percepts in conditions traditionally claimed to be subliminal, casting doubt on claims of subliminal priming made in previous reports.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 28, no 3, p. 346-355
Keywords [en]
subliminal perception, consciousness, perception, open data, open materials
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-141218DOI: 10.1177/0956797616684681ISI: 000396750500008PubMedID: 28121515OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-141218DiVA, id: diva2:1089561
Funder
Lars Hierta Memorial Foundation, FO2015-0940Available from: 2017-04-20 Created: 2017-04-20 Last updated: 2017-04-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Subliminal or not?: An appraisal of semantic processing in the near absence of visual awareness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Subliminal or not?: An appraisal of semantic processing in the near absence of visual awareness
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Stimuli that cannot be perceived (i.e., that are subliminal) can still elicit neural responses in an observer, but can such stimuli influence behavior and higher-order cognition? Empirical evidence for such effects has periodically been accepted and rejected over the last six decades. Today, many psychologists seem to consider such effects well-established and recent studies have extended the power of subliminal processing to new limits. In this thesis, I examine whether this shift in zeitgeist is matched by a shift in evidential strength for the phenomenon.

This thesis consists of three empirical studies involving more than 250 participants, a simulation study, and a quantitative review. The conclusion based on these efforts is that several methodological, statistical, and theoretical issues remain in studies of subliminal processing. These issues mean that claimed subliminal effects might be caused by occasional or weak percepts (given the experimenters’ own definitions of perception) and that it is still unclear what evidence there is for the cognitive processing of subliminal stimuli. New data are presented suggesting that even in conditions traditionally claimed as “subliminal”, occasional or weak percepts may in fact influence cognitive processing more strongly than do the physical stimuli, possibly leading to reversed priming effects. I also summarize and provide methodological, statistical, and theoretical recommendations that could benefit future research aspiring to provide solid evidence for subliminal cognitive processing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2016. p. 102
Keywords
Subliminal priming, Signal detection theory, Bayesian statistics, Visual masking, Consciousness, Awareness, Unconscious processing, Semantic priming
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-132211 (URN)978-91-7649-454-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-09-23, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2016-08-31 Created: 2016-08-01 Last updated: 2017-04-20Bibliographically approved

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