How the self controls its "automatic pilot" when processing subliminal information

Piotr Jaśkowski*, Blandyna Skalska, Roll Verleger

*Corresponding author for this work
83 Citations (Scopus)


Human performance may be primed by information not consciously available. Can such priming become so overwhelming that observers cannot help but act accordingly? In the present study, well-visible stimuli were preceded by whole series of unidentifiable stimuli. These series had strong, additive priming effects on behavior. However, their effect depended on the frequency with which they provided information conflicting to the visible main stimuli. Thus, effects of subliminal priming are under observers' strategic control, with the criterion presumably set as a function of the openly observable error frequency. Electrical brain potentials show that this criterion acts simultaneously at the level of visual discrimination of the primes and at motor activation evoked by the primes, thereby shielding observers from unwanted information.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)911-920
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 15.08.2003

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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