Negative Priming 1985 to 2015: A Measure of Inhibition, the Emergence of Alternative Accounts, and the Multiple Process Challenge
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In this article, three generations of authors describe the background to the original article; the subsequent emergence of vigorous debates concerning what negative priming actually reflects, where radically different accounts based on memory retrieval were proposed; and a re-casting of the conceptual issues underlying studies of negative priming. What started as a simple observation (slowed reaction times) and mechanism (distractor inhibition) appears now to be best explained by a multiple mechanism account involving both episodic binding and retrieval processes as well as an inhibitory process. Emerging evidence from converging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and especially electroencephalography (EEG), is beginning to identify these different processes. The past 30 years of negative priming experiments has revealed the dynamic and complex cognitive processes that mediate what appear to be apparently simple behavioural effects.
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