Subliminal visual priming

Moshe Bar, Irving Biederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Masked pictures of objects were flashed so briefly that only 13.5% of them could be named. Forced-choice accuracy for the unidentified objects was at chance. When the pictures were shown again, about 15 min and 20 intervening trials later, without any indication of possible repetitions, naming accuracy increased to 34.5%. The priming was completely visual, rather than semantic or verbal, as there was no priming of same-name, different-shape images. This is the first demonstration of facilitatory visual recognition priming by unidentified pictures when the subject could not anticipate if, when, or where the previously unidentified picture was to be shown again. A change in the position of the object reduced but did not eliminate the priming, allowing a speculation that the locus of subliminal visual priming is at an intermediate stage in the ventral cortical pathway for shape recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-469
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the Green Foundation and the Reich Foundation, and by the Dominic Center for Higher Brain Function, Weizmann Institute of Science.


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