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The law of prior entry was one of Titchener's seven fundamental laws of attention. According to E.B. Titchener, "the object of attention comes to consciousness more quickly than the objects that we are not attending to." Although the research on prior entry spans more than a century, the agreement on the very existence of the phenomenon has proved elusive. While some researchers are convinced of the veracity of the prior entry effect, others have argued that the empirical evidence is unconvincing. However, the last few years have seen a rapid growth of interest in the phenomenon, with a number of important confounds in previous research being identified. The latest research confirms the existence of a robust prior entry effect, identifying both perceptual and decisional components of the effect. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article

Publication Date



89 - 95