Attending, ignoring, and the immediate priming method

Bruce Milliken

Studies of selective attention focus on processes that allow us to attend to some stimuli and ignore others. The processing fate of ignored stimuli is regarded as a particularly important issue in this field. The immediate priming method is one of many that have been used to address this issue. The general research strategy that accompanies use of this method is that the processing consequences of attending or ignoring a prime ought to be revealed in performance for an identical (or related) target stimulus. As simple as this research strategy sounds, it has a complicating feature that is often overlooked: inferences about attention in such studies hinge entirely on our understanding about how present and past are integrated in human performance. My talk will focus on research aimed at these integration issues, with an emphasis on how attention in the present shapes the integration of previous and current experience.