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Experiment Author: Susan Campbell. Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
This experiment explores the negative priming effect, where things that have been ignored previously are more difficult to identify than those which were not ignored. Line drawings of familiar objects are superimposed over each other as a prime, and then either an unrelated drawing, the earlier target, or the earlier distractor is shown. The results show that the earlier distractor is more difficult to name than the prime, or an unrelated picture.
In this experiment red images are superimposed over green distractor images. Participants are to name the image that appears in red as soon as possible, speaking aloud. For each trial, an image appears for 40 milliseconds followed by a blank screen for 1 second, then another image appears for 40 milliseconds. Participants press the spacebar when ready to begin the next trial. There are 14 trials in this experiment.
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Used a priming paradigm to investigate the processing of an ignored object during selection of an attended object in 3 experiments with 57 females (aged 18-45 yrs). The level of internal representation achieved for the ignored object and the subsequent fate of this representation were investigated. In Exp I, a prime display containing 2 superimposed objects was briefly presented; 1 sec later, a probe display was presented containing an object to be named. If the ignored object in the prime display was the same as the subsequent probe, naming latencies were impaired (negative priming), which suggests that internal representations of the ignored object may become associated with inhibition during selection. Selection of a subsequent probe object requiring these inhibited representations is delayed. Exp II replicated the negative priming effect with a shorter interstimulus interval. Exp III examined the priming effects of both the ignored and the selected objects. Data show that for a stimulus selected from the prime display, naming of the same object in the probe display was facilitated. When the same stimulus was ignored in the prime display, however, naming of it in the probe display was again impaired (negative priming). Because negative priming was also demonstrated with categorically related objects, it is suggested that (1) ignored objects achieve categorical levels of representation and (2) the inhibition may be at this level.
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