Advertisement

Psychological Research

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 92–101 | Cite as

The effect of a masked stimulus on the response to the masking stimulus

  • Werner Klotz
  • Peter Wolff
Original Article

Abstract

Four experiments are reported in which the subjects had to respond to a target that masked a preceding prime via metacontrast masking. In one part of Experiment l, the subjects discriminated the target's shape (square or diamond) by a motor-choice reaction, and in another part they had to respond with a simple reaction. The prime was neutral (circular) with respect to the target's shape. The data showed a facilitation effect. In both tasks the reaction time was reduced by the masked prime. However, the reduction was more pronounced with simple reaction than with choice reaction. In the other experiments, additional primes were used with the same angular shapes as the targets. In Experiments 2 and 3, after discriminating the target's shape by a choice reaction, the subjects had to judge the prime's shape in a signal-detection task. While neither the d' value for discriminating the angular primes from the circular ones (Exp. 2) nor the d' value for distinguishing between the angular primes (Exp. 3) was different from zero, the choice-reaction data showed a congruency effect. With a congruent prime (i.e., a prime that had the same shape as the target), the reaction times were reduced. With an incongruent prime, the reaction times grew. In Experiment 4 the errors were investigated. The facilitation effect was present in the RT, but not in the number of errors, whereas the congruency effect was present in the number, but not in the RT of errors.

While the facilitation effect can be attributed either to an unspecific activation by the masked prime or to an influence of the prime on attentional processes, the congruency effect can be explained by the assumption that the masked prime directly activates the specific response, which corresponds to the prime's shape.

Keywords

Reaction Time Specific Response Congruency Effect Facilitation Effect Attentional Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bachmann, T. (1984). The process of perceptual retouch: Nonspecific afferent activation dynamics in explaining visual masking.Perception & Psychophysics, 35, 69–84.Google Scholar
  2. Bachmann, T. (1988). Time course of the subjective contrast enhancement for a second stimulus in successively paired abovethreshold transient forms: Perceptual retouch instead of forward masking.Vision Research, 28, 1255–1261.Google Scholar
  3. Bachmann, T. (1989). Microgenesis as traced by the transient paired-forms paradigm.Acta Psychologica, 70, 3–17.Google Scholar
  4. Bernstein, I. H., Amundson, V. E., & Schurman, D. L. (1973). Metacontrast inferred from reaction time and verbal report: Replication and comment on the Fehrer-Biederman experiment.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 100, 195–201.Google Scholar
  5. Breitmeyer, B. (1984).Visual masking: An integrative approach. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  6. Breitmeyer, B. & Ganz, L. (1976). Implications of sustained and transient channels for theories of visual pattern masking, saccadic suppression, and information processing.Psychological Review, 83, 1–36.Google Scholar
  7. Fehrer, E. (1965). Contribution of perceptual segregation to the relationship between stimulus similarity and backward masking.Perceptual and Motor Skills, 21, 27–33.Google Scholar
  8. Fehrer, E. (1966). Effect of stimulus similarity on retroactive masking.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71, 612–615.Google Scholar
  9. Fehrer, E., & Biederman, I. (1962). Comparison of reaction time and verbal report in the detection of masked stimuli.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64, 126–130.Google Scholar
  10. Fehrer, E., & Raab, D. (1962). Reaction time to stimuli masked by metacontrast.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 143–147.Google Scholar
  11. Harrison, K., & Fox, R. (1966). Replication of reaction time to stimuli masked by metacontrast.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71, 162–163.Google Scholar
  12. Heathcote, A. (1988). Screen control and timing routines for the IBM microcomputer family using a high-level language.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,20, 289–297.Google Scholar
  13. Henderson, L., Coles, S. H., Manheim, M., Muirhead, J. E., & Psutka, P. M. (1971). Orientation-specific masking of letter features.Nature, 233, 498–499.Google Scholar
  14. Jacobson, J. Z. (1974). Interaction of similarity to words of visual masks and targets.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 102, 431–434.Google Scholar
  15. Kahneman, D. (1968). Metacontrast: Method, findings, and theory in studies of visual masking.Psychological Bulletin, 70, 404–425.Google Scholar
  16. Lefton, L. A. (1973). Metacontrast: A review.Psychonomic Monograph Supplements, 4 (Whole No. 62). 245–255.Google Scholar
  17. Neumann, O. (1982). Experimente zum Fehrer-Raab-Effekt und das “Wetterwart” — Modell der visuellen Maskierung. (Experiments on the Fehrer-Raab effect and the “weather man” model of visual masking.)Bericht Nr. 24/1982, Psychologisches Institut der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Arbeitseinheit Kognitionspsychologie.Google Scholar
  18. Neumann, O. (1989). Kognitive Vermittlung und direkte Parameterspezifikation. Zum Problem mentaler Repräsentation in der Wahrnehmung. (Cognitive mediation and direct parameter specification: On the problem of mental representation in perception.)Sprache und Kognition, 8, 32–49.Google Scholar
  19. Neumann, O. (1990). Direct parameter specification and the concept of perception.Psychological Research, 52, 207–215.Google Scholar
  20. Neumann, O., Esselmann, U., & Klotz, W. (1993). Differential effects of visual-spatial attention on response latency and temporal order judgement.Psychological Research, 56, 26–34.Google Scholar
  21. Neumann, O., & Klotz, W. (1993). Motor responses to nonreportable, masked stimuli: Where is the limit of direct parameter specification? In M. Moscovitch & C. Umiltà (Eds.)Attention & performance XV: Conscious and nonconscious information processing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  22. Schiller, P. H., & Smith, M. C. (1966). Detection in Metacontrast.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71, 32–39.Google Scholar
  23. Stelmach, L. B., & Herdman, C. M. (1991). Directed attention and perception of temporal order.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 17, 539–550.Google Scholar
  24. Stigler, R. (1910). Chronophotische Studien über den Umgebungskontrast.Pflügers Archiv für die gesamte Physiologie, 134, 365–435.Google Scholar
  25. van der Heijden, A. H. C. (1990). Visual information processing and selection. In O. Neumann & W. Prinz (Eds.) Relationships between perception and action. Current approaches. Berlin, etc.: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. van der Heijden, A. H. C. (1992).Selective attention in vision. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Werner, H. (1935). Studies on contour: I. Qualitative analysis.American Journal of Psychology, 47, 40–64.Google Scholar
  28. Wolff, P. (1989).Einfluß des maskierten Testreizes auf die Wahlreaktion auf den Maskierreiz bei Metakontrast. (Effect of a masked test stimulus on the choice reaction to the mask with metacontrast.) Paper read at the 31. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, 20–23. März, Bamberg.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Fachbereich PsychologieUniversität OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

Personalised recommendations