Priming Effect in a Color Discrimination Task

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Two experiments were run to test whether the automatic coding of colors generates priming effects. Subjects were tachistoscopically presented a series of prime-target sequences. The prime stimulus could be either a red, green, or black circular dot, followed by a red or green annular ring (target). The role of automatic and conscious mechanisms was investigated in Exp. 1 by manipulating the predictive validity of the prime stimuli (80%, 50%, 20%), keeping constant the value of stimulus-onset asynchrony (350 msec.). Analysis showed priming effects even in the low predictive condition, where no conscious expectations could be activated. In Exp. 2, three different values of stimulus-onset asynchrony were used, 150, 350, and 2100 msec. Priming effects were obtained in the short and medium stimulus-onset asynchrony condition but not in the long one. Over-all, the data of both experiments produce converging evidence which indicates that the automatic elaboration of colored stimuli may produce priming effects.

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