, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 374-381

Strategic factors in a lexical-decision task: Evidence for automatic and attention-driven processes


The present study examined strategic factors in a semantic-priming, lexical-decision task. The first experiment demonstrated that the greater the proportion of related word-word pairs to unrelated word-word pairs, the greater the amount of facilitation, a result which is consistent with others reported in the literature. The second experiment demonstrated that this strategic factor apparently requires that sufficient time (at least several hundred milliseconds) be available for the processing of the priming word, and thus is probably caused by attention-driven processes. The third experiment replicated and extended the results of the first two studies by demonstrating that prime-target stimulus onset asynchrony is an important limiting factor in determining whether such proportion-induced strategic factors are involved in word-recognition processes, even when no other aspect or variable of the procedure changes. The results are discussed in the context of Posner and Snyder’s (1975a) two-process model of word recognition.

This research was supported by grants from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the St. Francis Xavier University Council for Research to G. Dannenbring and K. den Heyer.