Negative Priming, Attention, and Discriminating the Present from the Past

Consciousness and Cognition 6 (2-3):308-327 (1997)
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Priming effects have been used widely as a tool to study attentional processes. However, inferences regarding attention depend on how priming effects are interpreted. In the case of negative priming, an activation-based framework for interpreting priming suggests that attention inhibits the representation of prime distractors and that this inhibition is measured in performance to subsequent probes. Data summarized in this article point out that negative priming does not depend on selection of one of two primes and that attentional influences during retrieval play an important role in determining negative priming. Also, two experiments are described that demonstrate a correlation between priming effects and knowledge of the relation between primes and probes. We suggest that negative priming is not determined directly by a process of ignoring, but instead occurs because a repeated probe is less temporally distinct when ignored as a prime than when attended



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