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Stimulus/response learning in masked congruency priming of faces: evidence for covert mental classifications?
Eckstein, D., HENSON, R.
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(1), 92-120
Year of publication:
Reaction times for categorization of a probe face according to its sex or fame were contrasted as a function of whether the category of a preceding, sandwich-masked prime face was congruent or incongruent. Prime awareness was measured by the ability to later categorize the primes, and this was close to chance and typically uncorrelated with priming. When prime faces were never presented as visible probes within a test, priming was not reliable; when prime faces were also seen as probes, priming was only reliable if visible and masked presentation of faces were interleaved (not simply if primes had been visible in a previous session). In the latter case, priming was independent of experimentally induced face-response or face-category contingencies, ruling out any simple form of stimulus-response learning. We conclude that the reliable masked congruency priming reflects bindings between stimuli and multiple, abstract classifications that can be generated both overtly and covertly.