Abstract I argue that the empirical literature on priming effects does not warrant nor suggest the conclusion, drawn by prominent psychologists such as J. A. Bargh, that we have no free will or less free will than we might think. I focus on a particular experiment by Bargh ? the ?elderly? stereotype case in which subjects that have been primed with words that remind them of the stereotype of the elderly walk on average slower out of the experiment?s room (...) than control subjects ? and I show that we cannot say that subjects cannot help walking slower or that they are not free in doing do. I then illustrate how these cases can be reconciled and normalized within a Davidsonian theory of action to show that, in walking slower, subjects are acting intentionally. My argument applies across various experiments, including those of goal priming. In the final section I argue that the only cases in which priming effects are efficacious are so-called Buridan cases. (shrink)
Semantic priming has been a focus of research in the cognitive sciences for more than 30 years and is commonly used as a tool for investigating other aspects of perception and cognition, such as word recognition, language comprehension, and knowledge representations. Semantic Priming: Perspectives from Memory and Word Recognition examines empirical and theoretical advancements in the understanding of semantic priming, providing a succinct, in-depth review of this important phenomenon, framed in terms of models of memory and models (...) of word recognition. The first section examines models of semantic priming, including spreading activation models, the verification model, compound-cue models, distributed network models, and multistage activation models (e.g. interactive-activation model). The second section examines issues and findings that have played an especially important role in testing models of priming and includes chapters on the following topics: methodological issues (e.g. counterbalancing of materials, choice of priming baselines); automatic vs. strategic priming; associative vs. "pure" semantic priming; mediated priming; long-term semantic priming; backward priming; unconscious priming; the prime-task effect; list context effects; effects of word frequency, stimulus quality, and stimulus repetition; and the cognitive neuroscience of semantic priming. The book closes with a summary and a discussion of promising new research directions. The volume will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and students in the cognitive sciences and neurosciences. (shrink)
Accurately predicting other people's actions may involve two processes: internal real-time simulation (dynamic updating) and matching recently perceived action images (static matching). Using a priming of body parts, this study aimed to differentiate the two processes. Specifically, participants played a motion-controlled video game with either their arms or legs. They then observed arm movements of a point-light actor, which were briefly occluded from view, followed by a static test pose. Participants judged whether this test pose depicted a coherent continuation (...) of the previously seen action (i.e., “action prediction task”). Evidence of dynamic updating was obtained after compatible effector priming (i.e., arms), whereas incompatible effector priming (i.e., legs) indicated static matching. Together, the results support action prediction as engaging two distinct processes, dynamic simulation and static matching, and indicate that their relative contributions depend on contextual factors like compatibility of body parts involved in performed and observed action. (shrink)
The radical nub of Byrne & Russon's argument is that passive priming effects can produce much of the evidence of higher-order cognition in nonhuman primates. In support of their position we review evidence of similar behavioral priming effects n humans. However, that evidence further suggests that even program-level imitative behavior can be produced through priming.
The psycholinguistic literature has identified two syntactic adaptation effects in language production: rapidly decaying short-term priming and long-lasting adaptation. To explain both effects, we present an ACT-R model of syntactic priming based on a wide-coverage, lexicalized syntactic theory that explains priming as facilitation of lexical access. In this model, two well-established ACT-R mechanisms, base-level learning and spreading activation, account for long-term adaptation and short-term priming, respectively. Our model simulates incremental language production and in a series of (...) modeling studies, we show that it accounts for (a) the inverse frequency interaction; (b) the absence of a decay in long-term priming; and (c) the cumulativity of long-term adaptation. The model also explains the lexical boost effect and the fact that it only applies to short-term priming. We also present corpus data that verify a prediction of the model, that is, that the lexical boost affects all lexical material, rather than just heads. (shrink)
Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) interactive alignment model explains the existence of alignment between speakers via an automatic priming mechanism. We propose that it may be preferable to explain alignment through processes of memory retrieval. Our discussion highlights how memory retrieval can produce the same results as the priming mechanism and presents data that favor the memory-based view.
Modality specificity in priming is taken as evidence for independent perceptual systems. However, Easton, Greene, and Srinivas (1997) showed that visual and haptic cross-modal priming is comparable in magnitude to within-modal priming. Where appropriate, perceptual systems might share like information. To test this, we assessed priming and recognition for visual and auditory events, within- and across- modalities. On the visual test, auditory study resulted in no priming. On the auditory priming test, visual study resulted (...) in priming that was only marginally less than within-modal priming. The priming results show that visual study facilitates identification on both visual and auditory tests, but auditory study only facilitates performance on the auditory test. For both recognition tests, within-modal recognition exceeded cross-modal recognition. The results have two novel implications for the understanding of perceptual priming: First, we introduce visual and auditory priming for spatio-temporal events as a new priming paradigm chosen for its ecological validity and potential for information exchange. Second, we propose that the asymmetry of the cross-modal priming observed here may reflect the capacity of these perceptual modalities to provide cross-modal constraints on ambiguity. We argue that visual perception might inform and constrain auditory processing, while auditory perception corresponds to too many potential visual events to usefully inform and constrain visual perception. (shrink)
What mechanisms underlie children’s language production? Structural priming—the repetition of sentence structure across utterances—is an important measure of the developing production system. We propose its mechanism in children is the same as may underlie analogical reasoning: structure-mapping. Under this view, structural priming is the result of making an analogy between utterances, such that children map semantic and syntactic structure from previous to future utterances. Because the ability to map relationally complex structures develops with age, younger children are less (...) successful than older children at mapping both semantic and syntactic relations. Consistent with this account, 4-year-old children showed priming only of semantic relations when surface similarity across utterances was limited, whereas 5-year-olds showed priming of both semantic and syntactic structure regardless of shared surface similarity. The priming of semantic structure without syntactic structure is uniquely predicted by the structure-mapping account because others have interpreted structural priming as a reflection of developing syntactic knowledge. (shrink)
Any complete theory of speaking must take the dialogical function of language use into account. Pickering & Garrod (P&G) make some progress on this point. However, we question whether their interactive alignment model is the optimal approach. In this commentary, we specifically criticize (1) their notion of alignment being implemented through priming, and (2) their claim that self-monitoring can occur at all levels of linguistic representation.
There is no general agreement as to the meaning of long-term potentiation, but this cannot be resolved by using it to explain additional phenomena. Increased attention to recently experienced stimuli is a form of learning known to neuropsychologists as repetition priming. As more is learned about the neurochemistry of synaptic change, the term LTP will wither.
Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) mechanistic theory of dialogue attempts to detail the psychological processes involved in communication that are lacking in Clark's theory. By relying on automatic priming and alignment processes, however, the theory falters when it comes to explaining much of dialogic interaction. We argue for the inclusion of less automatic, though not completely conscious and deliberate, processes to explain such phenomena.
An unwanted thought appears to be cued easily by reminders in the environment but often the thought itself seems to cue nothing more than the desire to eliminate it from consciousness. This unusual asymmetry in the way unwanted thoughts are linked to other thoughts was the focus of the present research. Participants who were asked to suppress a thought or to concentrate on it completed a task assessing the inﬂuence of priming on reaction time (RT) for word/ non-word judgments. (...) Results revealed that suppression under cognitive load produced asymmetric priming: Priming with the associate of a suppressed word speeded RT for the suppressed word, but priming with a suppressed word did not speed RT for associated words. These ﬁndings suggest that thought suppression induces an unusual form of cognitive accessibility in which movement of activation toward the suppressed thought from associates is facilitated but movement of activation away from the suppressed thought to associates is undermined. Ó 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (shrink)
We agree with Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) proposal that dialogue is an important empirical and theoretical test bed for models of language processing. However, we offer two cautionary notes. First, the enterprise will require explicit computational models. Second, such models will need to incorporate both joint and separate speaker and hearer commitments in ways that go beyond priming and alignment.
Three experiments examined contributions of study phase awareness of word identity to subsequent word-identification priming by manipulating visual attention to words at study. In Experiment 1, word-identification priming was reduced for ignored relative to attended words, even though ignored words were identified sufficiently to produce negative priming in the study phase. Word-identification priming was also reduced after color naming relative to emotional valence rating (Experiment 2) or word reading (Experiment 3), even though an effect of emotional (...) valence upon color naming (Experiment 2) indicated that words were identified at study. Thus, word-identification priming was reduced even when word identification occurred at study. Word-identification priming may depend on awareness of word identity at the time of study. (shrink)
This commentary examines Glenberg's characterization of “suppression” in light of negative priming and related phenomena. After offering a radically different slant on suppression, an attempt is made to weave this alternative version into Glenberg's provocative discussion of embodied memories.
Incidental perceptual memory tests reveal priming when words are generated orally from a semantic cue at study, and this priming could reflect contamination by voluntary retrieval. We tested this hypothesis using a generate condition and two read conditions that differed in depth of processing (read-phonemic vs read-semantic). An intentional word-stem completion test showed an advantage for the read-semantic over the generate condition and an advantage for the generate over the read-phonemic condition, and completion times were longer than in (...) a control test, prior to which there was no study phase. An incidental word-stem completion test showed equivalent priming for the read-semantic and read-phonemic study conditions, despite considerable power, and completion times were no longer than control, indicating that retrieval was involuntary, and insensitive to prior conceptual processing. The generate condition produced less priming than the read conditions, but significant priming nonetheless. The results show that priming from generating can be involuntary and suggest that lexical processes are responsible. They are also the first results conjointly showing a crossed double dissociation, a single dissociation, and a parallel effect across memory tests with identical physical retrieval cues. (shrink)
Byrne & Russon propose that priming can account for the imitation of simple actions, but they fail to explain how the behavior of another can prime the observer's own behavior. They also propose that imitation of complex skills requires a sequence of acts tied together by a program, but they fail to rule out the role of trial-and-error learning and perceptual/motivational mechanisms in such task acquisition.
Hungarian data provide support for differences in processing regular and irregular morphologies. Stronger priming was observed with “regular” stem types compared to “irregular” ones. Use of nonwords showed a reliance on the grammatical structure of the nonword: Analogical extension of “irregulars” can be observed only in “root” contexts; in other contexts all types were largely overregularized.
Byrne & Russon's proposal that stimulus enhancement, emulation, and response facilitation should be lumped together as priming effects conceals important questions about nonimitative social learning, fails to forge a useful link between the social learning and cognitive psychological literatures, and leaves unexplained the most interesting feature of phenomena ascribed to “response facilitation.”.
Helen Neville has gathered ERP data suggesting that accessing an “implicit” memory system produces a qualitatively different kind of ERP wave than does accessing our “explicit” conscious memory system. These results corroborate the hypothesis that an early anterior priming effect indexes activity of a system specialized for words, while a later posterior priming effect indexes access to general, episodic representations of words. Moreover, she saw no effects in the masked paradigms using pseudo-words, further supporting the notion of an (...) early lexicon. However, we might not see any effects because the tasks use stimuli too complicated for an early automatic system to encode rapidly. Hence, masked priming effects for novel stimuli might be seen immediately with very simple input patterns. The following series of experiments was designed to test this hypothesis, as well as to try to differentiate the supposed early lexicon from other sorts of early access memory systems and to characterize more fully the capabilities of these early systems. In particular, ERP waveforms are compared for unmasked and masked priming conditions using simple 5-line visual patterns in experiments requiring subjects to make rapid decisions concerning the physical structure of the shapes. (shrink)
Priming and recollection are expressions of human memory mediated by different brain events. These brain events were monitored while people discriminated words from nonwords. Mean response latencies were shorter for words that appeared in an earlier study phase than for new words. This priming effect was reduced when the letters of words in study-phase presentations were presented individually in succession as opposed to together as complete words. Based on this outcome, visual word-form priming was linked to a (...) brain potential recorded from the scalp over the occipital lobe about 450 ms after word onset. This potential differed from another potential previously associated with recollection, suggesting that distinct operations associated with these two types of memory can be monitored at the precise time that they occur in the human brain. (shrink)
Adults have been shown to attribute certain properties more frequently than others to the dead. This category-specific pattern has been interpreted in terms of simulation constraints, whereby it may be harder to imagine the absence of some states than others. Afterlife beliefs have also shown context-sensitivity, suggesting that environmental exposure to different types of information might influence adults? reasoning about post-death states. We sought to clarify category and context effects in adults afterlife reasoning. Participants read a story describing the death (...) of a human protagonist after exposure to a biological prime, an emotional prime, or no prime. Emotions, desires, and epistemic states were more frequently attributed to the dead character than biological, psychobiological, and perceptual states, partially replicating previous findings. The biological prime decreased the attribution of certain post-death states relative to the control condition, whereas the emotional prime had no effect. Simulation theory does not provide a satisfactory explanation of the present findings, which may be better accounted for by conflict between different cognitive systems that are engaged in thinking about the dead. (shrink)
The present studies examined whether implied tactile properties during language comprehension influence subsequent direct tactile perception, and the specificity of any such effects. Participants read sentences that implicitly conveyed information regarding tactile properties (e.g., Grace tried on a pair of thick corduroy pants while shopping) that were either related or unrelated to fabrics and varied in implied texture (smooth, medium, rough). After reading each sentence, participants then performed an unrelated rating task during which they felt and rated the texture of (...) a presented fabric. Results demonstrated that the texture properties implied in sentences influence direct tactile perception. Specifically, after reading about a smooth or rough texture, subsequent fabric ratings became notably smoother or rougher, respectively. However, we also show that there was some specificity to these effects: Fabric-related sentences elicited more specific and interactive effects on subsequent ratings. Together, we demonstrate that under certain circumstances, language comprehension can prime tactile representations and affect direct tactile perception. Results are discussed with regard to the nature and scope of multimodal mental simulation during reading. (shrink)
Standard models of cognition are built from abstract, amodal, arbitrary symbols, and the meanings of those symbols are given solely by their interrelations. The target article (Glenberg 1997t) argues that these models must be inadequate because meaning cannot arise from relations among abstract symbols. For cognitive representations to be meaningful they must, at the least, be grounded; but abstract symbols are difficult, if not impossible, to ground. As an alternative, the target article developed a framework in which representations are grounded (...) in perception and action, and hence are embodied. Recent work (Glenberg & Robertson 1999; 2000; Glenberg & Kaschak 2002; Kaschak & Glenberg 2000) extends this framework to language. (shrink)
Subjects classified visible 2-digit numbers as larger or smaller than 55. Target numbers were preceded by masked 2-digit primes that were either congruent (same relation to 55) or incongruent. Experiments 1 and 2 showed prime congruency effects for stimuli never included in the set of classified visible targets, indicating subliminal priming based on long-term semantic memory. Experiments 2 and 3 went further to demonstrate paradoxical unconscious priming effects resulting from task context. For example, after repeated practice classifying 73 (...) as larger than 55, the novel masked prime 37 paradoxically facilitated the “larger” response. In these experiments task context could induce subjects to unconsciously process only the leftmost masked prime digit, only the rightmost digit, or both independently. Across 3 experiments, subliminal priming was governed by both task context and long-term semantic memory. (shrink)
��Grapheme-color synaesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which particular graphemes, such as the numeral 9, automatically induce the simultaneous perception of a particular color, such as the color red. To test whether the concurrent color sensations in graphemecolor synaesthesia are treated as meaningful stimuli, we recorded event-related brain potentials as 8 synaesthetes and 8 matched control subjects read sentences such as ‘‘Looking very clear, the lake was the most beautiful hue of 7.’’ In synaesthetes, but not control subjects, congruous graphemes, (...) compared with incongruous graphemes, elicited a more negative N1 component, a less positive P2 component, and a less negative N400 component. Thus, contextual congruity of synaesthetically induced colors altered the brain response to achromatic graphemes beginning 100 ms postonset, affecting pattern-recognition, perceptual, and meaning-integration processes. The results suggest that grapheme-color synaesthesia is automatic and perceptual in nature and also suggest that the connections between colors and numbers are bidirectional. (shrink)
O'Brien & Opie argue that (1) only explicit representations give rise to conscious experience, and (2) explicit representations depend on stable patterns of activation. In neglect patients, the stimuli presented to the neglected hemifield are not consciously experienced but exert causal effects on the processing of other stimuli presented to the intact hemifield. We argue that O'Brien & Opie cannot account for a nonconscious representation that is stable, as attested by the fact that it affects behavior, but is neither potentially (...) explicit nor tacit. (shrink)