Memory & Cognition

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 95–106

On the nature of the affective priming effect: Effects of stimulus onset asynchrony and congruency proportion in naming and evaluative categorization


    • University of Leuven
  • Dirk Hermans
    • University of Leuven
  • Jan De Houwer
    • Ghent University
  • Heleen Vandromme
    • University of Leuven
  • Paul Eelen
    • University of Leuven

DOI: 10.3758/BF03195946

Cite this article as:
Spruyt, A., Hermans, D., Houwer, J.D. et al. Memory & Cognition (2007) 35: 95. doi:10.3758/BF03195946


In line with the hypothesis that affective priming of evaluative categorization responses is based on processes that operate at a response selection stage, it has been observed that increasing the proportion of congruent trials brings about increased affective priming effects at short stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) in the evaluative categorization task. In the present study, we orthogonally manipulated the congruency proportion (.25, .50, and .75) and the SOA (0, 200, and 1,000 msec) in the evaluative categorization task and a naming task. Results showed that at both short and long SOAs, the affective priming effect in the evaluative categorization task was influenced by the congruency proportion. In contrast, affective priming effects in the naming task were unaffected by the congruency proportion at short SOAs. This pattern of results provides corroborating evidence for the hypotheses (1) that different processes underlie the affective priming effect in the evaluative categorization task and the naming task and (2) that valenced stimuli can automatically preactivate the memory representations of other, affectively related stimuli.

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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2007