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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2003 Mar;29(2):235-47.

Long-term semantic memory versus contextual memory in unconscious number processing.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-1525, USA. agg@u.washington.edu

Abstract

Subjects classified visible 2-digit numbers as larger or smaller than 55. Target numbers were preceded by masked 2-digit primes that were either congruent (same relation to 55) or incongruent. Experiments 1 and 2 showed prime congruency effects for stimuli never included in the set of classified visible targets, indicating subliminal priming based on long-term semantic memory. Experiments 2 and 3 went further to demonstrate paradoxical unconscious priming effects resulting from task context. For example, after repeated practice classifying 73 as larger than 55, the novel masked prime 37 paradoxically facilitated the "larger" response. In these experiments task context could induce subjects to unconsciously process only the leftmost masked prime digit, only the rightmost digit, or both independently. Across 3 experiments, subliminal priming was governed by both task context and long-term semantic memory.

PMID:
12696812
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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