Effect of a defining feature on negative priming across the life span

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Taylor & Francis


Negative priming paradigms examine selective attention, and may be explained by inhibitory processes (e.g. Tipper, 1985). Our study examines inhibition in children (6-11 years), younger adults (18-22 years), and older adults (60-82 years). Younger adults show inhibition to the reported feature of a stimulus (location or identity) (Milliken, Tipper, & Weaver, 1994) and to the defining feature of a stimulus (identity or colour) (Simone, Carlisle, & McCormick, 1998). Neither children (Tipper, Bourque, Anderson, & Brehaut, 1989) nor older adults (Connelly & Hasher, 1993) have consistently shown significant inhibition to the reported feature of identity, suggesting developmentally impaired inhibitory processing. Our current study demonstrates that both inhibition of a defining feature of identity and a reported feature of location are stable across the life span.