Avoiding the potential pitfalls of using negative priming tasks in developmental studies: Assessing inhibitory control in children, adolescents, and adults.

Verena E. Pritchard, Ewald Neumannxx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Despite being ignored, visual distractors often produce traceable negative priming (NP) effects that can be used to investigate inhibitory processes. Robust NP effects are typically found with young adults, but not with children. Using 2 different NP tasks, the authors compared NP in 5 different age groups spanning 5 to 25 years of age. The 1st task revealed comparable NP between all age groups, but a linear decrease in NP through childhood to early adulthood. In the 2nd task, NP decreased linearly into adulthood, with children actually showing larger NP than adults. This Age Group X NP interaction was eliminated, however, when reaction time data were log transformed to control for age differences in overall processing speed. When appropriately transformed data were used, both experiments showed that NP was intact and comparable between children, adolescents, and adults, and suggested that an inhibitory process is fully developed by early childhood. The results highlight how potential pitfalls might be avoided whencomparing NP in children and adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-283
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2009

Keywords

  • negative priming
  • inhibition
  • selective attention
  • general processing speed
  • cognitive development

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