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Reversed Priming Effects May Be Driven by Misperception Rather than Subliminal Processing
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 7, 198Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A new paradigm for investigating whether a cognitive process is independent of perception was recently suggested. In the paradigm, primes are shown at an intermediate signal strength that leads to trial-to-trial and inter-individual variability in prime perception. Here, I used this paradigm and an objective measure of perception to assess the influence of prime identification responses on Stroop priming. I found that sensory states producing correct and incorrect prime identification responses were also associated with qualitatively different priming effects. Incorrect prime identification responses were associated with reversed priming effects but in contrast to previous studies, I interpret this to result from the (mis-)perception of primes rather than from a subliminal process. Furthermore, the intermediate signal strength also produced inter-individual variability in prime perception that strongly influenced priming effects: only participants who on average perceived the primes were Stroop primed. I discuss how this new paradigm, with a wide range of d′ values, is more appropriate when regression analysis on inter-individual identification performance is used to investigate perception-dependent processing. The results of this study, in line with previous results, suggest that drawing conclusions about subliminal processes based on data averaged over individuals may be unwarranted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 7, 198
Keyword [en]
subliminal priming, unconscious processing, perception, stimulus strength, signal detection theory, trial-based analysis
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127669DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00198ISI: 000370555800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-127669DiVA: diva2:910658
Note

This research was supported by a grant from Stiftelsen Lars Hiertas Minne (award FO2015-0940) and the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University.

Available from: 2016-03-09 Created: 2016-03-09 Last updated: 2016-08-10Bibliographically 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. 102 p.
Keyword
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)
External cooperation:
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: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved

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