Recent work suggests that people evaluate target stimuli within short and flexible time periods called evaluation windows. Stimuli that briefly precede a target (forward primes) or briefly succeed a target (backward primes) are often included in the target's evaluation. In this article, the authors propose that predictable forward primes act as "go" signals that prepare target processing, such that earlier forward primes pull the evaluation windows forward in time. Earlier forward primes may thus reduce the impact of backward primes. This shifting evaluation windows hypothesis was tested in two experiments using an evaluative decision task with predictable (vs. unpredictable) forward and backward primes. As expected, a longer time interval between a predictable forward prime and a target eliminated backward priming. In contrast, the time interval between an unpredictable forward primes and a target had no effects on backward priming. These findings suggest that predictable features of dynamic stimuli can shape target extraction by determining which information is included (or excluded) in rapid evaluation processes.
Fockenberg, D. A. F., Koole, S. L., Lakens, D., & Semin, G. R. (2013). Shifting evaluation windows : predictable forward primes with long SOAs eliminate the impact of backward primes. PLoS ONE, 8(1), 1-8. [e54739]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0054739