Understanding the intervener effect in masked priming




Breuer, Andreas T.

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In the masked priming paradigm, responses to a target are faster if the prime and target are identical (repetition priming). Forster (submitted) provides evidence that repetition priming consists of a semantic component, due to the shared meaning of the prime and target, and an orthographic component, due to the shared letters. When an unmasked unrelated word intervenes between the prime and target, repetition priming was reduced, but orthographic priming was unaffected. When this intervener was masked, repetition priming was reduced whereas orthographic priming was eliminated. The unmasked intervener may block a semantic component of priming, and a masked intervener blocks the orthographic component. Experiment 1 replicated Forster’s results and confirmed the results were not due to an SOA confound. Experiment 2 included semantically-related primes in an attempt to examine the intervener’s effect on semantic priming, however, our materials did not yield semantic priming even when no intervener was present.



masked priming, language processing, repetition priming