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Response priming refers to the finding that a prime stimulus preceding a target stimulus influences the response to the following target stimulus. Typically, responses are faster and more accurate if the prime calls for the same response as the target (i.e., compatible trials), as compared with the situation where primes and targets trigger different responses (i.e., incompatible trials). However, the effect depends on presentational and temporal parameters such as the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of prime and target, or prime duration. Until now, the special role of moving stimuli was largely ignored. In the present research, experiments were conducted using clearly visible moving dots as primes and static arrows as targets. Essentially, with short SOAs up to 200 ms, participants responded faster to compatible targets. In contrast, with SOAs above 200 ms, participants responded faster to incompatible targets. The results were compared with response priming with static primes. Here, a different pattern of results emerged, with faster responses to compatible than incompatible targets at a long SOA of 300 ms. Overall, the experiments provide evidence for the existence of an inhibitory mechanism in action control when (distracting) motion stimuli are present. Results could be explained with slight changes to different accounts of negative response priming effects, as well as theories of attention.
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- Response priming with apparent motion primes