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Long-Lag Episodic Components in Subliminal Category Priming
ECKSTEIN, D., Tiberini, M., Perrig, W.G. & HENSON, R.N.A.
Experimental Psychology Society January 2008
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Subliminal category priming is one of the most reliable effects of nonconscious perception: The decision whether a probe belongs to one of two categories is facilitated when a subliminal prime preceding the probe belongs to the same category as the probe. It is common practice to use the same stimuli as visible probes and as subliminal primes. In this case, categorical priming may be dominated by episodic influences: Subliminal primes that were previously categorized as visible probes are prone to long-lag priming (called here episodic priming). We present a study that investigated the extent and nature of episodic components in category priming. Words were classified as positive or negative, and episodic priming was controlled (a) by varying the training given before the priming test, which familiarizes participants with the stimuli, and (b) by using a set of primes that were not shown as probes during test. Results suggest that episodic priming is a substantial component in category priming and that it is linked to mental classification of the probes.