Perceptual discrimination of basic object features is not facilitated when priming stimuli are prevented from reaching awareness by means of visual masking

Hayden J. Peel, Irene Sperandio, Robin Laycock, Philippe A. Chouinard

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Our understanding of how form, orientation and size are processed within and outside of awareness is limited and requires further investigation. Therefore, we investigated whether or not the visual discrimination of basic object features can be influenced by subliminal processing of stimuli presented beforehand. Visual masking was used to render stimuli perceptually invisible. Three experiments examined if visible and invisible primes could facilitate the subsequent feature discrimination of visible targets. The experiments differed in the kind of perceptual discrimination that participants had to make. Namely, participants were asked to discriminate visual stimuli on the basis of their form, orientation, or size. In all three experiments, we demonstrated reliable priming effects when the primes were visible but not when the primes were made invisible. Our findings underscore the importance of conscious awareness in facilitating the perceptual discrimination of basic object features.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalFrontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2018


  • vision
  • form discrimination
  • orientation discrimination
  • size discrimination
  • visual masking
  • priming

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