In recent years, the use of shielding gas to prevent the diffusion of the ambient air, particularly oxygen and nitrogen species, into the effluent of the atmospheric pressure plasma jet, and thus control the nature of chemical species used in the plasma treatment has increased. In this paper, the radial propagation of a plasma jet in ambient Ar is examined to find the key determinants of the polarity of plasma jets. The dynamics of the discharge reveal that the radial diffusion discharge is a special phenomenon observed only at the falling edge of the pulses. The radial transport of electrons, which is driven by the radial component of the applied electric field at the falling edge of the pulse, is shown to play an important role in increasing the seed electron density in the surrounding Ar. This result suggests a method to provide seed electrons at atmospheric pressure with a negative discharge. The polarity of the plasma jet is found to be determined by the pulse width rather than the polarity of the applied voltage, as it dictates the relative difference in the intensity of the two discharges in a single pulse, where the stronger discharge in a pulse dominates the behavior of the plasma jet. Accordingly, a method to control the polarity of a plasma jet through varying the pulse width is developed. Since plasma jets of different polarities differ remarkably in terms of their characteristics, the method to control the polarity reported in this paper will be of use for such applications as plasma-enhanced processing of materials and plasma biomedicine.