Schlaghecken, F., & Eimer, M. (2001). Partial response activation to masked primes is not dependent on response readiness. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 92, 208-222.
It was investigated whether partial response activation and inhibition triggered by masked primes depends on the overall or specific state of response readiness. Response readiness was manipulated by varying the relative frequency of Go-trials in a Go/Nogo task (Exp. 1), and the relative frequency of left- and right-hand responses in a 2-alternative choice RT task (Exp. 2). In both experiments, reaction times were substantially longer in low response readiness conditions than in high response readiness conditions. However, the 'negative compatibility effect' observed in similar studies under conditions of high response readiness was replicated and was not affected by the response readiness manipulation, indicating that neither the general ability of masked primes to elicit a partial motor activation, nor the specific time course of this process, is dependent on response readiness. These results can be interpreted as indicating that the execution of an overt response, rather than the activation of this response, is affected by manipulations of response readiness.