A Target Sequential Effect on the Forced-Choice Prime Visibility Test in Unconscious Priming Studies: A Caveat for Researchers
Shen Tu, Jun Li, Simin Wan, Dingding Wang, Jerwen Jou, Yingjuan Liu, Yidan Ma

In unconscious priming studies, most researchers adopt a combination of subjective and objective measures to assess the visibility of the prime. Although some carry out the visibility test at the end of the experiment separately from the unconscious priming task, others suggest that the forced-choice visibility test should be conducted immediately after the response to the target within each trial. In the present study, the influence of prime and target on the forced-choice prime discrimination was assessed within each trial. The results showed that the target affected the response in the forced-choice prime visibility test. Participants tended to make the same response or avoid repeating the same response they made to the target as in Experiments 1 and 3 rather than randomly guessing. However, even when the forced-choice visibility test was conducted separately from the priming experiment, the problem was not completely solved, because some participants tended to make one same response in the forced-choice visibility test as in Experiments 2. From another point of view, using these strategies in the forced-choice task can be seen as a helpless move by the participants when they are unaware of the stimuli. Furthermore, the results revealed that the forced-choice test performed immediately after the response to the target within each trial could possibly impair the unconscious priming as well as produce misleading visibility test results. Therefore, it is suggested that the forced-choice prime visibility test and the unconscious priming task may better be conducted separately.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jpbs.v11n1a2