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Conscious Cogn. 2013 Sep;22(3):1022-40. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2013.06.010. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

Subliminal understanding of negation: unconscious control by subliminal processing of word pairs.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK. Electronic address: am_armstrong@btinternet.com.


A series of five experiments investigated the extent of subliminal processing of negation. Participants were presented with a subliminal instruction to either pick or not pick an accompanying noun, followed by a choice of two nouns. By employing subjective measures to determine individual thresholds of subliminal priming, the results of these studies indicated that participants were able to identify the correct noun of the pair--even when the correct noun was specified by negation. Furthermore, using a grey-scale contrast method of masking, Experiment 5 confirmed that these priming effects were evidenced in the absence of partial awareness, and without the effect being attributed to the retrieval of stimulus-response links established during conscious rehearsal.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Contrast masking; Guessing criterion; Subjective thresholds; Subliminal priming; Unconscious cognition

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