Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition vol:26 issue:4 pages:929-44
In a series of experiments, a negative priming paradigm was used to determine how the visual system represents novel shapes under conditions of inattention. Observers in a shape-matching task viewed overlapping shapes with or without surface segmentation cues. Positive priming occurred with opaque and transparent surface-like shapes, whereas negative priming was found with outlined and transparent shapes that lacked surface segmentation cues. This effect generalized to familiar shapes. These results support the importance of segmentation cues in negative priming and suggest that, under otherwise identical conditions, surface segmentation processes can determine whether positive or negative priming occurs in an implicit memory task. Thus, selective attention for overlapping shapes may be best understood in relation to surface segmentation processes.