Seeing more than we can know: Visual attention and category activation, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
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.
Bodenhausen, Galen. 1999. Seeing more than we can know: Visual attention and category activation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 35(6): 590-602.