Another look at the effect of a surprising intervening event on negative priming.
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Tipper et al. (1991) reported that negative priming is eliminated when a low-probability event separates presentation of the prime display from the probe display. This finding is perfectly consistent with at least three of the major accounts of negative priming. However, each of these accounts can reasonably be argued to make different predictions regarding the effect of a surprising intervening event on attended repetition effects. The purpose of the experiment reported here was to determine which of these three predictions was correct. The results obtained were consistent with none of the three predictions. The low-probability intervening event did eliminate negative priming, but did so by slowing performance in the baseline condition relative to all other conditions. The results are discussed with respect to the role of surprise in responding to novel events.
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