Visual masking of primes lowers prime visibility but spares processing of primes as reflected in prime–target congruence and prime–response compatibility effects. However, the question is how to appropriately measure prime visibility. Here, we tested the influence of three procedural variables on prime visibility measures: prime–target similarity, prime–response similarity, and the variability of prime–response mappings. Our results show that a low prime–target similarity is a favorable condition for a prime visibility measure because it increases the sensitivity of this measure in comparison (...) to a high prime–target similarity. (shrink)
In two experiments, we tested whether fearful facial expressions capture attention in an awareness-independent fashion. In Experiment 1, participants searched for a visible neutral face presented at one of two positions. Prior to the target, a backward-masked and, thus, invisible emotional or neutral face was presented as a cue, either at target position or away from the target position. If negative emotional faces capture attention in a stimulus-driven way, we would have expected a cueing effect: better performance where fearful or (...) disgusted facial cues were presented at target position than away from the target. However, no evidence of capture of attention was found, neither in behavior, nor in event-related lateralizations. In Experiment 2, we went one step further and used fearful faces as visible targets, too. Thereby, we sought to boost awareness-independent capture of attention by fearful faces. However, still, we found no significant attention-capture effect. Our results show that fearful facial expressions do not capture attention in an awareness-independent way. Results are discussed in light of existing theories. (shrink)
Visual conscious perception could be grounded in a nonconscious sensorimotor domain. Although invisible, information can be processed up to the level of response activation. Moreover, these nonconscious processes are modified by actual intentions. This notion bridges a gap in the theoretical framework of O'Regan & Noë.