In masked priming, a briefly presented prime can facilitate or inhibit responses to a subsequent target. In most instances, targets with an associated response that is congruent with the prime direction speed up reaction times to the target (a positive compatibility effect; PCE). However, under certain circumstances, slower responses for compatible primes are obtained (a negative compatibility effect; NCE). NCEs can be found when a long pre-target delay is used. During the delay, inhibition is assumed to take place, and therefore an effect on saccade trajectories may also be expected. In a previous study, we found the effects of inhibition on response times and trajectories to be dissociated, but this experiment varied the timing of several aspects of the stimulus sequence and it is therefore unclear what caused the dissociation. In the present study, we varied only one aspect of the timing, but replicated the dissociation. By varying just the pre-target delay, we found a PCE for a short delay, and an NCE for a long delay, but saccade trajectories deviated away from prime directions in both conditions. This suggests dissociated inhibitory effects of primes on response times and saccade trajectories.
- negative compatibility effect