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Cross-language positive priming disappears, negative priming does not: Evidence for two sources of selective inhibition

Abstract

The authors used a unilingual and bilingual primed lexical decision task to investigate priming effects produced by attended and ignored words. In the unilingual experiment, accelerated lexical decisions to probe target words resulted when the word matched the preceding target word, whereas slowed lexical decisions to probe target words resulted when the word matched the preceding ignored nontarget word. In the bilingual (English-Spanish) experiment, between-language, rather than within-language, priming manipulations were used. Although the ignored repetition negative priming effect replicated across languages, cross-language attended repetition positive priming did not. This dissociation of priming effects in the inter- versus intralanguage priming conditions contradicts episodic retrieval accounts of negative priming that deny the existence of selective inhibitory processes. On the other hand, these results support an extension of inhibition-based accounts of negative priming, because they indicate that inhibition can operate at two levels of abstraction—local word and global—language simultaneously.

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Neumann, E., McCloskey, M.S. & Felio, A.C. Cross-language positive priming disappears, negative priming does not: Evidence for two sources of selective inhibition. Mem Cogn 27, 1051–1063 (1999). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03201234

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03201234

Keywords

  • Target Word
  • Lexical Decision
  • Negative Priming
  • Negative Priming Effect
  • Distractor Word