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Title: The development, correlates and causes of negative priming
Author: Green, H. A. C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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Research to date suggests that the extra time taken by people to attend to items they had previously ignored, referred to as Negative Priming (NP), is either missing or impoverished in, among others: young children, people with schizophrenia, people with high schizotypy scores and with poor comprehension. These groups also show deficits in selective attention; and this common ground, combined with the original theoretical view of negative priming as due to efficient inhibition, had encouraged the view that inhibitory difficulties may be associated with attention problems. This research was planned to replicate, develop and clarify some of these findings, with the aim of answering three questions; 1) At what age does negative priming normally develop? 2) Is it a stable and a general mechanism? 3) Is it an inhibitory mechanism? A series of six multi-task experiments were carried out using both a standard Colour name NP task, and a new 'Animal choosing' NP task, developed to engage the interest of children. The new animal task was run with both a manual and a verbal response mode. Other tasks included a schizotypy questionnaire, and stories for comprehension tests NP did not show a developmental course, some children show significant NP at six years old, and many 12 year olds show none on the same task. Test re-test of one task showed stability of priming effects between the tasks, but the NP delay dissipated with practice. Experiments using different tasks and both verbal and manual response modes did not support the idea of a general inhibitory mechanism, as there was no correlation of NP across task and mode. It is suggested that NP is not a stable individual phenomenon, but a task and response-mode specific activation of selective attention. As such, the use of NP tests as diagnostic of inhibitory levels in individuals or groups should be treated with caution. Proposals are made for a theoretical formulation, with associated testable hypotheses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available