Unconscious response priming during continuous flash suppression

PloS One
Mika Koivisto, Simone Grassini


Continuous flash suppression (CFS) has become a popular tool for studying unconscious processing, but the level at which unconscious processing of visual stimuli occurs under CFS is not clear. Response priming is a robust and well-understood phenomenon, in which the prime stimulus facilitates overt responses to targets if the prime and target are associated with the same response. We used CFS to study unconscious response priming of shape: arrows with left or right orientation served as primes and targets. The prime was presented near the limen of consciousness and each trial was followed by subjective rating of visibility and a forced-choice response concerning the orientation of the prime in counterbalanced order. In trials without any reported awareness of the presence of the prime, discrimination of the prime's orientation was at chance level. However, priming was elicited in such unconscious trials. Unconscious priming was not influenced by the prime-target onset-asynchrony (SOA)/prime duration, whereas conscious processing, as indicated by the enhanced discriminability of the prime's orientation and conscious priming, increased at the longest SOAs/prime durations. These results show that conscious and unconscious processe...Continue Reading


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