The role of the frontal lobes in the inhibitory mechanisms of suppression



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Texas Tech University


The primary hypothesis examined in the present experiment was that the executive functions of the frontal lobe play a dominant role in negative priming. Sbrty-one young adults performed various inhibitory reading tasks in which the participants identified redtarget letters while inhibiting green distractor letters. Participants also performed various inhibitory tasks that are commonly used in estimating performance levels of executive functions.

The results of the inhibitory reading tasks showed that these participants demonstrated an interference effect and a facilitation effect; however, an overall negative priming effect was not found. Although a negative priming effect was not achieved, 39% of the participants displayed negative priming effects, 34% demonstrated positive priming effects, and the remaining partidpants (26%)showed no priming effects. A mixed factorial analysis showed that the negative primers completed both the reading tasks and the inhibitory tasks that involved executive functions in less time than either the positive primers or the no primers. A multiple regression analysis was computed in which the negative priming effect served as the dependent variable and the various inhibitory measurements for executive functions served as the independent variables. The results of this analysis indicated that the executive functions of the frontal lobe do not serve as good predictors for the negative priming effect. Therefore, no support was found for the hypothesis that the executive fimctions play a significant role in the inhibitory process of negative priming. These findings indicate that the type of priming demonstrated by the participant is the result of individual differences in their processing speed.