ABC versus QWERTZ: interference from mismatching sequences of letters in the alphabet and on the keyboard.
A meta-analysis of research on Zajonc's (1968) mere exposure effect indicated that stimuli perceived without awareness produce substantially larger exposure effects than do stimuli that are consciously perceived (Bornstein, 1989a). However, this finding has not been tested directly in the laboratory. Two experiments were conducted comparing the magnitude of the exposure effect produced by 5-ms (i.e., subliminal) stimuli and stimuli presented for longer durations (i.e., 500 ms). In both experiments, 5-ms stimuli produced significantly larger mere exposure effects than did 500-ms stimuli. These results were obtained for polygon (Experiment 1), Welsh figure (Experiment 2), and photograph stimuli (Experiments 1 and 2). Implications of these findings for theoretical models of the mere exposure effect are discussed.