Skalska B, van der Lubbe R H J, Zakrzewicz P, Dominski J, Jaskowski P, 2004, "Subliminal priming of motor reactions by an irrelevant singleton" Perception 33 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Subliminal priming of motor reactions by an irrelevant singleton
B Skalska, R H J van der Lubbe, P Zakrzewicz, J Dominski, P Jaskowski
In a recent study (Jaskowski et al, 2003 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 15 911 - 920), a well visible pair of squares (main stimulus) was preceded by a sequence of four pairs of squares (primes), whereby each pair masked the preceding pair. Participants had to react to the side of the target (a square with small gaps). One of the four primes contained a smaller copy of the target on the same side (congruent) or the opposite side (incongruent) of the target. A benefit for reaction times for congruent and a detrimental effect for incongruent trials was found. This finding may be explained by the direct parameter-specification hypothesis (Neumann, 1990 Psychological Research 52 207 - 215): masked primes resembling the target may initiate response preparation to the target. Alternatively, the effect could be assigned to an attention shift evoked by a salient feature (gaps). Here, we showed that an irrelevant singleton did attract attention, but its effect on reaction time was weaker than that of the target-like prime. Moreover, the target-like prime exerted its effect even if it had no salient feature. These results show that irrelevant singletons may contribute to priming effects, but cannot fully account for the effect exerted by target-like primes.
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