Two studies were conducted to investigate the notion that stimulus exposure time, target category, and mindset orientation can influence the impact of subliminally presented emotion faces on judgments of neutral targets. Specifically, Study I showed that when the stimulus and target were from different categories, assimilative judgments occurred at both short and long (but still Subliminal) stimulus exposure times. Yet, when the stimulus and target were from the same category, assimilation occurred at short exposure times, and contrast occurred at long exposure times. Findings from Study 2 show that this effect is moderated by one's goal during processing. That is, when motivated to see a specific type of stimulus, contrast occurred regardless of stimulus exposure time; however, when one is not poised to see specific stimuli, assimilation occurred at short exposure times and contrast occurred at long exposure times. These findings support the notion that unconscious perception is flexible and goal contingent. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.