Christie and Klein (2008) recommended using the 7 key conditions used by Neumann and DeSchepper (1991) and Stadler and Hogan (1996) to investigate the full range of effects produced by recently rejected distractors (negative priming) and recently attended targets (positive priming) in selective attention tasks. They suggested that incorporating all seven conditions should help to overcome the current muddle of possible explanations for positive and negative priming effects. Crucially, although the overall patterns of results reported by Neumann and DeSchepper and Stadler and Hogan were identical, some of the conditions in Stadler and Hogan’s experiment produced much larger effects, particularly in the attended repetition (positive priming) conditions, compared with those of Neumann and DeSchepper. Here we use statistical support provided by an analytic approach known as predicted pattern testing (Levin & Neumann, 1999) to argue that asymmetric transfer produced by participant expectancy effects could account for the magnitude of Stadler and Hogan’s positive priming outcomes, rather than the commonly accepted assumption made by Christie and Klein, and others, that prime-probe congruencies involving targets should affect performance (responses to probe targets) more than prime-probe congruencies involving distractors.

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