The selective perception and recognition of single words from competing dichotic stimulus pairs

Consciousness and Cognition 1 (3):241-264 (1992)
Abstract
Five experiments are reported that concern selective perception and representation following dichotic presentations of competing word pairs differing only in their initial consonants . Only one word from each pair tended to be subjectively perceived, even when participants were encouraged to guess two words. Robust selective perception effects were evidenced as a function of stimulus affective valence. Control tasks showed that these effects could not be attributed to report biases or to the acoustic properties of the stimuli. The unreported words were not recognized on a two-alternative forced-choice task but were recognized with a more sensitive ranking task. Additional cognitive activity during the intertrial interval weakened memory only for the words reported as perceived. Moreover, negative affective valence decreased the recognition of words reported as consciously perceived but increased recognition of unreported words. The implications of these findings for theories of unconscious processing are discussed
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