Implicit bias training can remove bias from subliminal stimuli, restoring choice divergence: A proof-of-concept study.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
PLoS One, 2023, 18, (7), pp. e0289313
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Subliminal information can influence our conscious life. Subliminal stimuli can influence cognitive tasks, while endogenous subliminal neural information can sway decisions before volition. Are decisions inextricably biased towards subliminal information? Or can they diverge away from subliminal biases via training? We report that implicit bias training can remove biases from subliminal sensory primes. We first show that subliminal stimuli biased an imagery-content decision task. Participants (n = 17) had to choose one of two different patterns to subsequently imagine. Subliminal primes significantly biased decisions towards imagining the primed option. Then, we trained participants (n = 7) to choose the non-primed option, via post choice feedback. This training was successful despite participants being unaware of the purpose or structure of the reward schedule. This implicit bias training persisted up to one week later. Our proof-of-concept study indicates that decisions might not always have to be biased towards non-conscious information, but instead can diverge from subliminal primes through training.
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