Traditional theories of backward priming account only for the priming effects found at long stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs). Here, we suggest that the presence of backward priming at short SOAs may be related to the integrative
role of the cerebellum. Previous research has shown that the right cerebellum is involved in forward associative priming.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging reveals some activation of the left cerebellar hemisphere during backward priming; but what this activation represents is unclear. Here we explore this issue using continuous theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation (cTBS) and associative priming in a lexical
decision task. We tested the hypothesis that the left cerebellum plays a role in backward priming and that this is dissociated from the role of the right cerebellum in forward priming.
Before and after cTBS was applied to their left and right cerebellar hemispheres, participants completed a lexical decision task. Although we did not replicate the forward priming effect reported in the literature, we did find a significant increase in backward priming after left relative to right cerebellar cTBS. We consider how theories of cerebellar function in the motor domain can be extended to language and cognitive models of backward priming.