In general, both consciously and unconsciously perceived stimuli facilitate responses to following similar stimuli. However, masked arrows delay responses to following arrows. This inverse priming has been ascribed to inhibition of premature motor activation, more recently even to special processing of nonconsciously perceived material. Here, inverse priming depended on particular masks, was insensitive to contextual requirements for increased inhibition, and was constant across response speeds. Putative signs of motor inhibition in the electroencephalogram may as well reflect activation of the opposite response. Consequently, rather than profiting from inhibition of primed responses, the alternative response is directly primed by perceptual interactions of primes and masks. Thus there is no need to assume separate pathways for nonconscious and conscious processing.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)