Cognitive set, absorption, and achievement as moderators of the perceptual closure effect in picture priming /
Turner, Deborah L.
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The present study examined individual differences in Absorption and fantasy, as well as in Achiievement and achievement striving as possible moderators of the perceptual closure effect found by Snodgrass and Feenan (1990). The study also examined whether different instructions (experiential versus instrumental) interact with the personality variables to moderate the relationship between priming and subsequent performance on a picture completion task. 1 28 participants completed two sessions, one to fill out the MPQ and NEO personality inventories and the other to complete the experimental task. The experimental task consisted of a priming phase and a test phase, with pictures presented on a computer screen for both phases. Participants were shown 30 pictures in the priming phase, and then shovm the 30 primed pictures along with 30 new pictures for the test phase. Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of the two different instruction sets for the task. Two measures of performance were calculated, most fragmented measure and threshold. Results of the present study confirm that a five-second exposure time is long enough to produce the perceptual closure effect. The analysis of the two-way interaction effects indicated a significant quadratic interaction of Absorption with priming level on threshold performance. The results were in the opposite direction of predictions. Possible explanations for the Absorption results include lack of optimal conditions, lack of intrinsic motivation and measurement problems. Primary analyses also revealed two significant between-subject effects of fantasy and achievement striving on performance collapsed across priming levels. These results suggest that fantasy has a beneficial effect on performance at test for pictures primed at all levels, whereas achievement striving seems to have an adverse effect on performance at test for pictures primed at all levels. Results of the secondary analyses with a revised threshold performance measure indicated a significant quadratic interaction of Absorption, condition and priming level. In the experiential condition, test performance, based on Absorption scores for pictures primed at level 4, showed a positive slope and performance for pictures primed at levels 1 and 7 based on Absorption showed a negative slope. The reverse effect was found in the instrumental condition. The results suggest that Absorption, in combination with experiential involvement, may affect implicit memory. A second significant result of the secondary analyses was a linear three-way interaction of Achievement, condition and priming level on performance. Results suggest that as Achievement scores increased, test performance improved for less fragmented primed pictures in the instrumental condition and test performance improved for more highly fragmented primes in the experiential condition. Results from the secondary analyses suggest that the revised threshold measure may be more sensitive to individual differences. Results of the exploratory analyses with Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness and agentic positive emotionality (PEM-A) measures indicated no significant effects of any of these personality variables. Results suggest that facets of the scales may be more useful with regard to perceptual research, and that future research should examine narrowly focused personality traits as opposed to broader constructs.