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Long-term negative priming: Support for retrieval of prior attentional processes

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Negative priming reveals that participants respond slowly to a probe target that was a task-irrelevant distractor in the preceding prime display (e.g., Tipper, 1985) and is thought to reflect processes mediating short-term behaviour. However, since the first surprising reports that negative priming is found with meaningless stimuli across delays of 30 days (e.g., DeSchepper & Treisman, 1996), researchers have questioned the existence of long-term negative priming effects. Because long-term negative priming could indicate that task-irrelevant information leaves a memory trace that impacts performance over time, such a finding is of immense theoretical importance. Indeed, the current research finds support for the existence of long-term negative priming as well as its generality across different stimuli and conditions. The authors propose that the initial processes that prevent response to irrelevant stimuli may be stored in memory, where retrieval of these processes can mediate behaviour over time.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980443000557

Affiliations: University of Wales, Bangor, Wales, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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