Three Cognitive Markers of Unconscious Semantic Activation

  title={Three Cognitive Markers of Unconscious Semantic Activation},
  author={Anthony G Greenwald and Sean C. Draine and Richard L. Abrams},
  pages={1699 - 1702}
A “response window” technique is described and used to reliably demonstrate unconscious activation of meaning by subliminal (visually masked) words. Visually masked prime words were shown to influence judged meaning of following target words. This priming-effect marker was used to identify two additional markers of unconscious semantic activation: (i)the activation is very short-lived (the target word must occur within about 100 milliseconds of the subliminal prime); and (ii) unlike… 

Unconscious semantic priming extends to novel unseen stimuli

Subliminal words activate semantic categories (not automated motor responses)

This result shows that subliminal priming involves unconscious categorization of the prime, rather than just the automatic activation of a practiced stimulus-response mapping.

Replicable unconscious semantic priming.

By constraining response latencies to fall within a response window--a narrow time band that occurred earlier than subjects would ordinarily respond--these experiments consistently produced subliminal priming effects, indicated by greater error rates for incongruent than congruent priming trials.

Subliminal Semantic Priming in Speech

This work reports the first report of semantic priming in the auditory modality without conscious categorization of the prime in the visual modality.

The neural bases of subliminal priming

Functional neuroimaging can be used to explore the neural bases of masked priming, and a simple mathematical framework is proposed that tentatively relates priming at the voxel level with the shape of the tuning curves of single neurons in the underlying tissue.

Cerebral mechanisms of word masking and unconscious repetition priming

Within the areas associated with conscious reading, masked words activated left extrastriate, fusiform and precentral areas and reduced the amount of activation evoked by a subsequent conscious presentation of the same word.

Masked Priming of Conceptual Features Reveals Differential Brain Activation during Unconscious Access to Conceptual Action and Sound Information

Ground cognition theory suggesting that activity in sensory and motor areas during conceptual processing can also occur unconsciously and is not mandatorily accompanied by a vivid conscious experience of the conceptual content such as in imagery is supported.

Long-term semantic memory versus contextual memory in unconscious number processing.

Across 3 experiments, subliminal priming was governed by both task context and long-term semantic memory, with paradoxical unconscious priming effects resulting from task context.



Facilitation in recognizing pairs of words: evidence of a dependence between retrieval operations.

The results of both experiments support a retrieval model involving a dependence between separate successive decisions about whether each of the two strings is a word.

Perception and communication

First published in 1958, this book has become recognized as a classic in its field. It marked a transition between behaviourist learning theory and the modern 'information processing' or 'cognitive'

Parallel and Antiparallel (G·GC)2 Triple Helix Fragments in a Crystal Structure

The x-ray crystal structure of the oligonucleotide d(GGCCAATTGG) is described; it was designed to contain the d(G˙GC)2 fragment and thus provide the basic repeat unit of a DNA triple helix, making it possible to construct models of both parallel and antiparallel triple helices.


Pope Gregory XIII tried his hand at tinkering the time by decreeing that every fourth year should have 366 days, but this computation proved too long by eleven minutes, fourteen seconds yearly.

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J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. Cognit. Psychol. J. Verb. Learn. Verb. Behav. J. Mem. Lang. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cognit

  • J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. Cognit. Psychol. J. Verb. Learn. Verb. Behav. J. Mem. Lang. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cognit
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The term subliminal implies a theory of the perceptual threshold, or limen, that has been superseded in modern psychology as a consequence of the influence of signal detection theory

    Supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH-41328) and National Science Foundation (SBR-9422242)