ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL ACTIVATION BY MASKED PRIMES: INDEPENDENCE OF PRIME-RELATED AND TARGET-RELATED ACTIVITIES
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Visual stimuli that are made invisible by metacontrast masking (primes) have a marked influence on behavioral and psychophysiological measures such as reaction time (RT) and the lateralized readiness potential (LRP). 4 experiments are reported that shed light on the effects that masked primes have on the LRP. Participants had a go-nogo task in which the prime was associated with 1 of 2 responses even if the target required participants to refrain from responding. To analyze the electrophysiological responses, the authors computed the LRP and applied an averaging method separating the activation due to the prime and the target. The results demonstrated that (a) masked primes activate responses even in a nogo situation, (b) this prime-related activation is independent of masking, (c) and is also independent of whether prime and target require the same responses (congruent condition) or different responses (incongruent condition).
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