The issue of the role of prime-probe perceptual similarity in affective priming has not been directly addressed in prior research.
Regarding the issue of the role of prime-probe semantic category relatedness in affective priming, prior research has provided inconclusive results.
The difference in response latencies between congruent and incongruent probes was used as an index of affective priming. If the affective content of the prime is processed, then correct evaluative decisions on the probe will be faster when the prime and the probe are congruent than when these are incongruent in emotional valence.
The specific aim of Experiment 1 was to assess the degree to which affective priming depends on physical similarity between the prime and the probe.
This is consistent with most prior studies using pictorial stimuli (e.g., Carroll & Young, 2005; Hermans et al., 1994; Hietanen & Korpela, 2004; Spruyt et al., 2002), and suggests that affective content is extracted from the prime and that this content determines the observed priming effects.
The results of Experiment 1 have shown that affective priming occurs to a significant extent as a function of congruence in affective content, although it is enhanced by physical similarity.