Seeing More Than We Can Know: Visual Attention and Category Activation

C. Neil Macrae*, Galen V. Bodenhausen, Alan B. Milne, Guglielmo Calvini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Extending existing work on the conditional automaticity of category activation, the present research investigated the extent to which category activation is moderated by the resolution of visual attention. As visual attention gates access to material in semantic memory, so too should it regulate the activation of social categories when triggering verbal labels are encountered. Accordingly, only when triggering stimuli fall within the spotlight of attention did we expect category activation to occur. The results of two studies supported this prediction. We consider the implications of our findings for recent treatments of category automaticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-602
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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