Is response priming based on surface color? Response to Skrzypulec (2021)

9 May 2021  ·  Thomas Schmidt ·

Skrzypulec (2021) raises the question whether motor activation by masked color primes is based on the same type of color representation as conscious vision. He postulates that the literature on color processing without awareness makes an implicit assumption that "conscious" and "unconscious" color representations have the same properties, in which case priming by masked color stimuli would indeed indicate that the same complex representation of surface color can be conscious as well as unconscious. I review some evidence from response priming by lightness stimuli in the context of a visual illusion that alters the perceived lightness of the primes (Schmidt et al., 2010). Those results clearly show that response priming is not driven by color-constant information but instead by local image contrast, making it unlikely that rapid response activation by color primes is based on a color-constant representation of surface color.

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