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2007 | 3 | 1-2 | 227-240

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The negative compatibility effect: A case for self-inhibition

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In masked priming, a briefly presented prime stimulus is followed by a mask, which in turn is followed by the task-relevant target. Under certain conditions, negative compatibility effects (NCEs) occur, with impaired performance on compatible trials (where prime and target indicate the same response) relative to incompatible trials (where they indicate opposite responses). However, the exact boundary conditions of NCEs, and hence the functional significance of this effect, are still under discussion. In particular, it has been argued that the NCE might be a stimulus-specific phenomenon of little general interest. This paper presents new findings indicating that the NCE can be obtained under a wider variety of conditions, suggesting that it reflects more general processes in motor control. In addition, evidence is provided suggesting that prime identification levels in forced choice tasks - usually employed to estimate prime visibility in masked prime tasks - are affected by prior experience with the prime (Exp. 1) as well as by direct motor priming (Exp. 2 & 3).








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  • Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  • Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  • Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  • Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  • Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK


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