Implications of Subliminal Classical Conditioning for Defeating the Use of Countermeasures in the Detection of Deception: Subliminal Evaluation
STATE UNIV OF NEW YORK AT STONY BROOK DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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Traditionally, classical conditioning paradigms have focused on reflexive responses to stimuli that are readily identified. In this research, the probability and magnitude of electrodermal responses elicited by stimuli below awareness levels subliminal were investigated. Thirty male college students were randomly assigned to either a supraliminal or subliminal treatment group 15 per group. During conditioning employing a partial reinforcement schedule, one of three geometric shapes presented at awareness level supraliminal was paired with a 1 to 4 milliampere electrical shock of 250 milliseconds duration. After conditioning had occurred, subjects electrodermal responses to sub- and supraliminally presented stimuli the geometric shapes were measured. Backward masking was used to reduce the probability of accurate stimulus recognition during the subliminal treatment condition. Data analysis showed that subjects in both conditions responded more frequently to target stimuli CS than to stimuli which had not been previously paired with shock Cs-. While subliminally presented stimulus recognition accuracy did not differ significantly from chance level, the frequency and magnitude of subliminal treatment group responses to both the CS and Cs- were greater than those of the supraliminal group. These results suggest that subliminally presented visual stiniuli can elicit differential autonomic nervous system responding to CS and Cs-. The higher rate of responding and larger response magnitudes observed in the subliminal group may, however, have been due to generalized Cs expectancy in a situation where the stimuli could not be accurately identified.
- Anatomy and Physiology