Negative priming without overt prime selection.
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The procedure typically used to demonstrate negative priming requires subjects to respond to one of two simultaneously presented stimuli across two consecutive displays. Negative priming is defined by slower responses to targets in the second display that appeared as distractors in the first display, than to targets in the second display that did not appear in the first display. It is widely assumed that negative priming occurs as a result of the selection that occurs in the first display. In the present article, we show that negative priming can be observed without requiring subjects to respond selectively to one of two items in the first display. We argue that this result is useful for two reasons. First, it points out a fundamental misunderstanding concerning the procedure required to measure negative priming, a misunderstanding that has shaped much of the theoretical work done in this area. Second, we suggest that the procedure introduced here is of considerable utility in evaluating theoretical accounts of negative priming. To demonstrate this utility we report the results of two studies that assess the code co-ordination account of negative priming.
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