Visual priming (the facilitation of reactions on repeated exposures of comparable stimuli) and serial reliance are simple indicators that the perceptual past impacts current perception (systematic biases toward the previous stimuli). For a study, researchers investigated if the two phenomena used similar perception processes.

They altered the conventional “priming of pop-out” paradigm to assess serial reliance and priming simultaneously. Three grating patches—one or two red and the other green—made up the stimulus. The participants recognized the single color (red or green) and duplicated its orientation. Long runs of priming color and location and serial reliance were prioritized in the design of trial sequences.

The findings demonstrated that priming had significant impacts on both reaction times and accuracy, which slowly increased over time, as was typically described in the literature. The serial dependency effects were likewise significant, but they were independent of the run duration or the prior color. Inaccuracy in orientation reproduction was reliably linked with reaction durations assessed under various conditions of repetition or change of priming color or location, while serial dependency magnitude was dependably uncorrelated.

The findings implied that separate brain processes regulate visual priming and serial dependency. They suggested that serial reliance influences criterion while priming affects sensitivity, two orthogonal aspects in the signal detection theory, perhaps through mechanisms like attention.