Local and global level-priming occurs for hierarchical stimuli composed of outlined, but not filled-in, elements

Alexandra List*, Marcia Grabowecky, Satoru Suzuki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


When attention is directed to the local or global level of a hierarchical stimulus, attending to that same scale of information is subsequently facilitated. This effect is called level-priming, and in its pure form, it has been dissociated from stimulus- or response-repetition priming. In previous studies, pure level-priming has been demonstrated using hierarchical stimuli composed of alphanumeric forms consisting of lines. Here, we test whether pure level-priming extends to hierarchical configurations of generic geometric forms composed of elements that can be depicted either outlined or filledin. Interestingly, whereas hierarchical stimuli composed of outlined elements benefited from pure level-priming, for both local and global targets, those composed of filled-in elements did not. The results are not readily attributable to differences in spatial frequency content, suggesting that forms composed of outlined and filled-in elements are treated differently by attention and/or priming mechanisms. Because our results present a surprising limit on attentional persistence to scale, we propose that other findings in the attention and priming literature be evaluated for their generalizability across a broad range of stimulus classes, including outlined and filled-in depictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Attention
  • Global
  • Hierarchical stimuli
  • Local
  • Priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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