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Presentation Master's Thesis - Michelle Venema - Brain & Cognition

Last modified on 15-08-2022
A New Experimental Framework for Studying the Boundaries of Unconscious Processing
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Start date
18-08-2022 12:00
End date
18-08-2022 13:00

Roeterseilandcampus - Building G


Nieuwe Achtergracht 129-B



In the last decades the boundaries of unconscious processing have been pushed all the way up to high-level cognitive functions such as decision making and cognitive control. However, the analysis strategies and design choices most often used to demonstrate unconscious processing seem to have serious implications for the trustworthiness of the claims being made. By applying methodological and statistical improvements to resolve these issues, the current study addresses whether the claims of past research on unconscious inhibitory control stand firm or need to be re-evaluated. 

Participants performed a masked Go/No-Go task to test if simple shapes could unconsciously trigger inhibition. In order to provide evidence for unconscious processing, the sensitivity for the prime in the priming task should be significantly higher than the sensitivity in the awareness task. None of the results demonstrated such a finding. This indicates that there is no evidence for unconscious inhibitory control to date, until a re-examination of the literature may show otherwise. The goal of the current study is to provide future research a new experimental framework for studying the boundaries between conscious and unconscious processing.