Semantic interference from subliminal stimuli in a dichoptic viewing situation



In Expt 1 subjects named words, shapes or colours presented to one eye while words or shapes were presented to the other eye subliminally. The subliminal stimuli were found to slow naming responses when they had the same name as the stimulus to be named or a closely related name, compared with random letter strings or blank cards. This result was replicated in a second experiment which also included unrelated words as subliminal stimuli. On these trials latencies were midway between those for trials with blank cards or random letter strings as the subliminal stimuli, and trials with the same name or a closely related name as the subliminal stimuli. The results imply that stimuli related in meaning compete for common analysing mechanisms.