Masked repetition primes produce greater facilitation in naming in a block containing a high, rather than low proportion of repetition trials. [Bodner, G. E., & Masson, M. E. J. (2004). Beyond binary judgments: Prime-validity modulates masked repetition priming in the naming task. Memory & Cognition, 32, 1–11] suggested this phenomenon reflects a strategic shift in the use of masked prime as a function of its validity. We propose an alternative explanation based on the Adaptation to the statistics of the environment (ASE) framework, which suggests the proportion effect reflects adaptation of response-initiation processes to recent trial difficulty. Consistent with ASE’s prediction, (1) stimuli that produce the proportion effect also produced an “asymmetric blocking effect”, showing a smaller fall in response latencies of hard items than the rise of easy items when the two item types were intermixed relative to pure blocks comprised of only one item type, and (2) manipulation of prime validity was neither necessary nor sufficient to modulate the size of masked-priming effect.