Juggling too many balls at once: Qualitatively different effects when measuring priming and masking in single, dual, and triple tasks

29 Aug 2022  ·  Melanie Biafora, Thomas Schmidt ·

Dissociation paradigms examine dissociations between indirect measures of prime processing and direct measures of prime awareness. It is debated whether direct measures should be objective or subjective, and whether these measures should be obtained on the same or separate trials. In two metacontrast experiments, we measured prime discrimination, PAS ratings, and response priming either separately or in multiple tasks. Single tasks show the fastest responses in priming and therefore most likely meet the assumption of feedforward processing as assumed under Rapid-Chase Theory. Similarly, dual tasks allow for a fast response activation by the prime; nevertheless, prolonged responses and slower errors occur more often. In contrast, triple tasks have a negative effect on response activation: responses are massively slowed and fast prime-locked errors are lost. Moreover, decreasing priming effects and prime identification performance result in a loss of a double dissociation. Here, a necessary condition for unconscious response priming, feedforward processing, is violated.

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