How Prioritized is Self-Prioritization During Stimulus Processing?

Johanna K Falben* (Corresponding Author), Marius Golubickis, Ruta Balseryte, Linn Maria Persson, Dimitra Tsamadi, Siobhan E. Caughey, C. Neil MacRae

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Recent research has suggested that self-relevance automatically enhances stimulus processing (i.e., the self-prioritization effect). Notably, information associated with one’s self elicits faster responses than comparable material associated with other targets (e.g., friend, stranger). Challenging the assertion that self-prioritization is an obligatory process, here we hypothesized that self-relevance only facilitates performance when task sets draw attention to previously formed target-object associations. The results of two experiments were consistent with this viewpoint. Compared with arbitrary objects owned by a friend, those owned by the self were classified more rapidly when participants were required to report either the owner or identity of the items (i.e., semantic task set). In contrast, self-relevance failed to facilitate performance when participants judged the orientation of the stimuli (i.e., perceptual task set). These findings demonstrate the conditional automaticity of self-prioritization during stimulus processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • self-relevance
  • self-prioritization
  • ownership
  • automaticity
  • task sets
  • Self-relevance
  • responses
  • social salience


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