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Memory & Cognition

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 99–110 | Cite as

An RT distribution analysis of relatedness proportion effects in lexical decision and semantic categorization reveals different mechanisms

  • Bianca de WitEmail author
  • Sachiko Kinoshita
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Semantic priming Relatedness proportion RT distribution analysis Lexical decision Retrospective semantic matching 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

Author note

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.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) and Department of Cognitive ScienceMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) and Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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