Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 742–752 | Cite as

Something (important) is out there! Effects of prime arousal and location on evaluative priming

  • David R. Herring
  • Katherine R. White
  • Linsa N. Jabeen
  • Inkyung Song
  • Stephen L. CritesJr.
Original Paper


The ability of an organism to rapidly process parafoveal information to identify motivationally significant stimuli is important for survival. The evaluative priming paradigm is useful for examining whether evaluation of hostile/hospitable stimuli in the parafovea has occurred. Three evaluative priming experiments that varied the valence and arousal of prime stimuli were conducted. In the first experiment, primes were presented foveally and prime arousal did not moderate the standard evaluative priming effect (i.e., faster responses when prime and target valence matched). In the next two experiments, primes were presented parafoveally and prime arousal moderated evaluative priming such that priming was greater for high than low arousing primes. These findings are aligned with dual competition models positing that sensory and response systems compete for limited resources during emotional processing. Greater stimulus arousal enhances this dual competition during parafoveal processing, enabling the organisms to disengage and attend to the periphery.


Evaluative priming Prime strength Arousal Emotion Parafovea 



We thank Larry Cohn, Wendy Francis, and Joe Tomaka for comments on earlier drafts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Herring
    • 1
  • Katherine R. White
    • 2
  • Linsa N. Jabeen
    • 3
  • Inkyung Song
    • 4
  • Stephen L. CritesJr.
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Emotion and AttentionUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyColumbus State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyGustavus Adolphus CollegeSt. PeterUSA
  4. 4.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric InstituteColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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