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The Challenge of Inferring Unconscious Mental Processes

Shanks, DR; Malejka, S; Vadillo, MA; (2021) The Challenge of Inferring Unconscious Mental Processes. Experimental Psychology 10.1027/1618-3169/a000517. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Studies of unconscious mental processes often compare a performance measure (e.g., some assessment of perception or memory) with a measure of awareness (e.g., a verbal report or forced-choice response) of the critical cue or contingency taken either concurrently or separately. The resulting patterns of bivariate data across participants lend themselves to several analytic approaches for inferring the existence of unconscious mental processes, but it is rare for researchers to consider the underlying generative processes that might cause these patterns. We show that bivariate data are generally insufficient to discriminate single-process models, with a unitary latent process determining both performance and awareness, from dual-process models, comprising distinct latent processes for performance and awareness. Future research attempting to isolate and investigate unconscious processes will need to employ richer types of data and analyses.

Type: Article
Title: The Challenge of Inferring Unconscious Mental Processes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000517
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000517
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135044
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