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Picture Priming: Multiple Primes Under Conditions of Normal and Limited Awareness
AuthorClapham, Eric S.
AdvisorWessinger, Mark C.
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The present study was designed to explore how multiple primes affects processing under two levels of awareness. Participants rapidly categorized pictorial stimuli as representing natural or manufactured concepts. Prior to the presentation of the target stimuli, up to four masked primes were briefly presented. Experiment 1 was interested in the effects of multiple sequential primes (1, 2, or 4) on object processing. Primes were presented serially and at a randomized duration of either 40 or 100 ms. Experiment 2, on the other hand, presented participants with 1, 2, or 4 simultaneous primes, while again manipulating awareness level in an attempt to understand how the conscious and nonconscious systems deal with multiple concepts concurrently. These two experiments yielded significant priming results at both levels of awareness and in all priming conditions. Although multiple prime conditions did result in considerable processing facilitation, additive priming effect only occurred in the nonconscious 2 prime condition. Furthermore, conscious priming effects tended to be larger and resulted in quicker RT than those obtained in many of the nonconscious conditions. However, when presented with multiple sequential primes the difference between conscious and nonconscious priming disappeared. Simultaneous primes, on the other hand, did not result in any additive effects. These results suggest that perceptual primes can have an additive effect on conceptual decision-making but under very specific circumstances. These results also imply that conscious and nonconscious systems utilize information gained from multiple stimulus exposures in a comparable manner, and can in fact affect behavior in a similar manner.
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