Negative priming indexes an inhibition process that aids target selection by reducing distractor interference. To date, children have produced negative priming only in tasks where distractor response tendencies are consistently greater than or equal to targets and not in tasks containing a substantial proportion of low-conflict distractors. To establish the exact parameters under which children's negative priming attenuates relative to adults, we varied processing demands across 2 experiments involving children and adults. Negative priming was comparable when 100% high-conflict conditions were encountered (Experiment 1) and was intact in adults but not children when a ratio of 50:50 high- to low-conflict conditions was encountered (Experiment 2). Compared with adults, children seem induced to divide attention more generally when low-conflict attentional conditions are included, attenuating negative priming.
|Number of pages
|American Journal of Psychology
|Published - 2011