The priming effects of task irrelevant information
Dannemiller, James L.
Master of Arts
Much research has shown that information outside of awareness can be processed to some degree. Here we used overlapping pictures and words presented in a RSVP paradigm to examine the effect of semantic congruency in an unattended dimension on performance in an attended dimension. We hypothesized that if unattended information is processed, then by manipulating the congruency of the dimensions we may see facilitory or inhibitory effects on subject's responses to attended items. We found that when an unattended congruent word preceded a picture target by a lag of 2 items or 4 items, responses to that target picture were speeded compared to when the word was unrelated to the target. This finding suggests that the unattended information is being processed to the level at which it can influence behavior and that this processing lasts for an extended duration after the item is presented.