NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE MASKED-PRIMING - IMPLICATIONS FOR MOTOR INHIBITION
Masked stimuli can prime responses to subsequent target stimuli, causing response benefits when the prime is similar to the target. However, one masked-prime paradigm has produced counter-intuitive negative compatibility effects (NCE), such that performance costs occur when prime and target are similar. This NCE has been interpreted as an index of an automatic self-inhibition mechanism that suppresses the partial motor activation caused by the prime. However, several alternative explanations for the NCE have been proposed and supported by new evidence. As a framework for discussion, The author divides the original theory into five potentially separable issues and briefly examines each with regard to alternative theories and current evidence. These issues are: 1) whether the NCE is caused by motor inhibition or perceptual interactions; 2) whether inhibition is self-triggered or stimulus-triggered; 3) whether prime visibility plays a causal role; 4) whether there is a threshold for triggering inhibition; 5) whether inhibition is automatic. Lastly, he briefly considers why NCEs have not been reported in other priming paradigms, and what the neural substrate for any automatic motor inhibition might be.
CEJSH db identifier