Unconscious Priming: Masked Primes Facilitate Change Detection and Change Identification Performance

  •  Karen Murphy    
  •  Jason Andalis    


Change blindness refers to the finding that people have difficulty detecting changes between visual scenes, when
these scenes are separated by a brief interruption to visual input. The masked priming paradigm was integrated
into a change detection task using real world photos to examine if unconsciously perceived words could assist in
the detection and identification of changes. Results demonstrated superior detection accuracy for deletion and
location changes compared to addition changes and that change detection response times were shorter for
deletion than either addition or location changes. Identification of deletion and addition changes was better than
for location changes. Both change detection and identification performances were enhanced by a masked identity
prime presented prior to the first scene in the change detection task. These results provide evidence that
unattended information can assist change detection and change identification performance.

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