Unconscious auditory information can prime visual word processing: A process-dissociation procedure study

Dominique Lamy, Liad Mudrik, Leon Y. Deouell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Whether information perceived without awareness can affect overt performance, and whether such effects can cross sensory modalities, remains a matter of debate. Whereas influence of unconscious visual information on auditory perception has been documented, the reverse influence has not been reported. In addition, previous reports of unconscious cross-modal priming relied on procedures in which contamination of conscious processes could not be ruled out. We present the first report of unconscious cross-modal priming when the unaware prime is auditory and the test stimulus is visual. We used the process-dissociation procedure [Debner, J. A., & Jacoby, L. L. (1994). Unconscious perception: Attention, awareness and control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20, 304-317] which allowed us to assess the separate contributions of conscious and unconscious perception of a degraded prime (either seen or heard) to performance on a visual fragment-completion task. Unconscious cross-modal priming (auditory prime, visual fragment) was significant and of a magnitude similar to that of unconscious within-modality priming (visual prime, visual fragment). We conclude that cross-modal integration, at least between visual and auditory information, is more symmetrical than previously shown, and does not require conscious mediation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-698
Number of pages11
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Keywords

  • Cross-modal priming
  • Process-dissociation procedure
  • Unconscious priming
  • Visual-to-auditory priming

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