Visual Priming of Inverted and Rotated Objects

Barbara J. Knowlton, Sean P. McAuliffe, Chase J. Coelho, John E. Hummel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Object images are identified more efficiently after prior exposure. Here, the authors investigated shape representations supporting object priming. The dependent measure in all experiments was the minimum exposure duration required to correctly identify an object image in a rapid serial visual presentation stream. Priming was defined as the change in minimum exposure duration for identification as a function of prior exposure to an object. Experiment 1 demonstrated that this dependent measure yielded an estimate of predominantly visual priming (i.e., free of name and concept priming). Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated that although priming was sensitive to orientation, visual priming was relatively invariant with image inversion (i.e., an image visually primed its inverted counterpart approximately as much as it primed itself). Experiment 4 demonstrated a similar dissociation with images rotated 90° off the upright. In all experiments, the difference in the magnitude of priming for identical or rotated-inverted priming conditions was marginal or nonexistent. These results suggest that visual representations that support priming can be relatively insensitive to picture-plane manipulations, although these manipulations have a substantial effect on object identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-848
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • implicit memory
  • object recognition
  • priming
  • rapid serial visual presentation
  • viewpoint-independent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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