Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 515–540 | Cite as

Conceptual versus Perceptual Priming in Incomplete Picture Identification

  • Junko Matsukawa
  • Joan Gay Snodgrass
  • Glen M. Doniger


This paper examined conceptual versus perceptual priming in identification of incomplete pictures by using a short-term priming paradigm, in which information that may be useful in identifying a fragmented target is presented just prior to the target’s presentation. The target was a picture that slowly and continuously became complete and the participants were required to press a key as soon as they knew what it was. Each target was preceded by a visual prime. The nature of this prime varied from very conceptual (e.g., the name of the picture’s category) to very perceptual (e.g., a similar-shaped pictorial prime from a different category). Primes also included those that combined perceptual and conceptual information (e.g., names or images of the target picture). Across three experiments, conceptual primes were effective while the purely perceptual primes were not. Accordingly, we conclude that pictures in this type of task are identified primarily by conceptual processing, with perceptual processing contributing relatively little.


incomplete picture conceptual prime short-term priming picture identification perceptual prime 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junko Matsukawa
    • 1
    • 4
  • Joan Gay Snodgrass
    • 2
  • Glen M. Doniger
    • 3
  1. 1.Kanazawa UniversityJapan
  2. 2.New York UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Clinical ScienceNeuroTrax CorporationNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyKanazawa UniversityKakumaJapan

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