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Priming with and without awareness


In two experiments, no evidence for perception without awareness was found in a Stroop-priming task when the threshold for detecting color-word primes was measured reliably by a forced-choice procedure. Color words and color patches were either congruent or incongruent, and no priming occurred when the words were presented at the detection threshold. However, systematic increases in the level of detection for the primes led to correlated increases in the magnitude of priming. The results provide no support for recent claims that priming is a more sensitive indicator of perceptual processing than detection based upon verbal report. A resolution to the apparent discrepancy between the present results and previously reported findings is suggested.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jim Cheesman.

Additional information

This research was supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postgraduate Scholarship to the first author and by Grant APA-231 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to the second author.

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Cheesman, J., Merikle, P.M. Priming with and without awareness. Perception & Psychophysics 36, 387–395 (1984).

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  • Stroop Task
  • Incongruent Trial
  • Color Word
  • Naming Latency
  • Pattern Mask