An RT distribution analysis of relatedness proportion effects in lexical decision and semantic categorization reveals different mechanisms
The magnitude of the semantic priming effect is known to increase as the proportion of related prime–target pairs in an experiment increases. This relatedness proportion (RP) effect was studied in a lexical decision task at a short prime–target stimulus onset asynchrony (240 ms), which is widely assumed to preclude strategic prospective usage of the prime. The analysis of the reaction time (RT) distribution suggested that the observed RP effect reflected a modulation of a retrospective semantic matching process. The pattern of the RP effect on the RT distribution found here is contrasted to that reported in De Wit and Kinoshita’s (2014) semantic categorization study, and it is concluded that the RP effect is driven by different underlying mechanisms in lexical decision and semantic categorization.
KeywordsSemantic priming Relatedness proportion RT distribution analysis Lexical decision Retrospective semantic matching
This research was supported by the International Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarship (2011043) awarded to Bianca de Wit. We thank the reviewers—Jim Neely and two anonymous—who provided valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.
Bianca de Wit, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) and Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University. Sachiko Kinoshita, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) and Department of Psychology, Macquarie University.
- Antos, S. J. (1979). Processing facilitation in a lexical decision task. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 5, 527–545.Google Scholar
- Brysbaert, M., & New, B. (2009). Moving beyond Kuçera and Francis: A critical evaluation of current word frequency norms and the introduction of a new and improved word frequency measure for American English. Behavior Research Methods, 41, 977–990. doi: 10.3758/brm.41.4.977 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hutchison, K. A., Heap, S. J., Neely, J. H., & Thomas, M. A. (2014). Attentional control and asymmetric associative priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 844–856. doi: 10.1037/a0035781
- Landauer, T. K., McNamara, D. S., Dennis, S., & Kintsch, W. (2007). Handbook of Latent Semantic Analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- McRae, K., & Boisvert, S. (1998). Automatic semantic similarity priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 24, 558–572.Google Scholar
- Neely, J. H. (1991). Semantic priming effects in visual word recognition: A selective review of current findings and theories. In D. Besner & G. W. Humphreys (Eds.), Basic processes in reading: Visual word recognition (pp. 264–336). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Neely, J. H., & Keefe, D. E. (1989). Semantic context effects on visual word processing: A hybrid prospective/retrospective processing theory. In G. H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 24, pp. 207–248). New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Posner, M. I., & Snyder, C. R. R. (1975). Attention and cognitive control. In R. L. Solso (Ed.), Information processing and cognition: The Loyala symposium (pp. 55–85). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar