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Literally means “below threshold”Unattended does not mean subliminalSubliminal means the stimulus cannot be consciouslyperceivedBut does that mean in access consciousness or phenomenal consciousness?Marcel (1983)Task: Identify color of presented patchPatch is preceded by a word (a prime) that was either:Neutral (table)Matched (color)Priming: RT for match should be faster than neutralTwo types of trialsSupraliminalConsciously aware of the primeSubliminalNot (phenomenally) consciously aware of the primePretest: words presented until chance performance (50%) was reachedPredictions
If subliminal perception existsThere will be priming in bothIf subliminal perception doesn’t existThere will only be priming in the supraliminal conditionResultsPriming occurred in both conditions, but it was larger in supraliminal than in subliminalBut was subliminal trulysubliminal?What if we define subliminal as unprocessed?Cheesman and Merikle (1984)Subjective vs. Objective thresholds3 conditions based on the duration of the cue:Subjective duration of cue:Defined by pretest: duration at which participants got 50% correct in forced choice selection of color patch after failure to report wordObjective duration of cue:Defined by pretest: duration at which participants got 25% correct in forced patchafter failure to report wordSupraliminal durationPredictions:Subjective thresholdJust like previous study: priming should occurObjective thresholdIf subliminal perception exists (outside of access consciousness)Priming should be obtainedIf subliminal perception does not existPriming should not be obtainedResults:No priming at the objective thresholdWhat is meant by “influence behavior”?Cognitive psychologists find effects of subliminal perception to be on the order of 1/20thof a second increase in RTSocial psychologist claim that subliminal perception increases the activation of a concept,which is unlikely to have any long range effects on behaviorKarremans, Goelz, Johr, Neumann, Ecker, and Doerr (2009)Subliminally presented drink brand names influenced preference for that brand, but only for those who were thirstyBermeitinger, Goelz, Johr, Neumann, Ecker, and Doerr (2009)Consumption of a particular brand of dextrose (sugar) pills was influenced by subliminally presented logos, but only for those who were tiredGreenwald, Spangenberg, Pratkanis, and Eskenazi (1991)Participants took tests to assess their memory and self-esteemGiven subliminal messages embedded in taped nature sounds, classical music, or popular musicTapes were labeled as “memory improvement” or “self-esteem improvement”Label was unrelated to content of subliminal messageListened to tapes each day for one month
After one month:Retested memory and self-esteemAsked if they felt their memory or self-esteem had improvedResults:No effect of subliminal messageMemory or self-esteem did not improveEffect of tape label