Susceptibility to unconscious influences is unaffected by a challenging inhibitory task or mental exhaustion

Gurney, Angela, Lagos, Anna-Nepheli L, Manning, Abigail and Scott, Ryan (2017) Susceptibility to unconscious influences is unaffected by a challenging inhibitory task or mental exhaustion. Consciousness and Cognition. ISSN 1053-8100

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Abstract

Unconscious influences have been demonstrated in a variety of behavioural contexts, however, a key question remains – to what extent do such influences vary with our changing mental states? We examine whether a prior inhibitory challenge increases susceptibility to subliminal priming in a stem completion task employing neutral (Experiment 1) and reward salient terms (Experiment 2). Results show stem completions to be significantly influenced by unconscious priming, and the challenging inhibitory task (the Stroop) to be significantly more mentally exhausting than the control task. However, neither the degree of inhibitory challenge, trait self-control, nor task-related mental exhaustion significantly influenced unconscious priming. Bayesian analysis provides strong evidence that prior inhibitory challenge does not affect susceptibility to unconscious priming. The study supports the conclusion that unconscious processing can be independent of consciously experienced mental states and provides reassurance that inhibitory impairment, common to mood disorders, should not increase susceptibility to unconscious influences.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Inhibitory control; self-control; unconscious; subliminal priming
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 12:55
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2017 12:19
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70814

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