Evidence for Episodic Retrieval of Inadequate Prime Responses in Auditory Negative Priming

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Four experiments are reported in which the mechanisms underlying auditory negative priming were investigated. In Experiments 1A and 1B, preprime-prime intervals and prime-probe intervals were manipulated. The ratio between the 2 intervals determined the size of the negative priming effect. Results are compatible with the episodic retrieval account, according to which the retrieval of inappropriate response information associated with the previous distractor slows down responding when that stimulus becomes the target. Experiment 2 tested a variant of this account, according to which the retrieval of the prime response rather than the retrieval of nonresponse information interferes with responding. Consistent with this variant, participants erroneously responded with the prime response more frequently in the ignored repetition condition than in the control condition. Experiment 3 replicated this finding and generalized it to the visual modality. The authors conclude that the retrieval of the inappropriate prime response is a determinant of the negative priming phenomenon.

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