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ERIC Number: EJ925758
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Rapid Parallel Semantic Processing of Numbers without Awareness
Van Opstal, Filip; de Lange, Floris P.; Dehaene, Stanislas
Cognition, v120 n1 p136-147 Jul 2011
In this study, we investigate whether multiple digits can be processed at a semantic level without awareness, either serially or in parallel. In two experiments, we presented participants with two successive sets of four simultaneous Arabic digits. The first set was masked and served as a subliminal prime for the second, visible target set. According to the instructions, participants had to extract from the target set either the mean or the sum of the digits, and to compare it with a reference value. Results showed that participants applied the requested instruction to the entire set of digits that was presented below the threshold of conscious perception, because their magnitudes jointly affected the participant's decision. Indeed, response decision could be accurately modeled as a sigmoid logistic function that pooled together the evidence provided by the four targets and, with lower weights, the four primes. In less than 800 ms, participants successfully approximated the addition and mean tasks, although they tended to overweight the large numbers, particularly in the sum task. These findings extend previous observations on ensemble coding by showing that set statistics can be extracted from abstract symbolic stimuli rather than low-level perceptual stimuli, and that an ensemble code can be represented without awareness. (Contains 5 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A