Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1054–1061 | Cite as

Language proficiency and morpho-orthographic segmentation

  • Elisabeth Beyersmann
  • Séverine Casalis
  • Johannes C. Ziegler
  • Jonathan Grainger
Brief Report

Abstract

One key finding in support of the hypothesis that written words are automatically parsed into component morphemes independently of the true morphological structure of the stimuli, so-called morpho-orthographic segmentation, is that suffixed nonword primes facilitate the visual recognition of a stem target (rapidifier-RAPIDE) whereas non-suffixed primes (rapiduit-RAPIDE) do not. However, Morris, Porter, Grainger, and Holcomb (Language & Cognitive Processes, 26(4–6), 558–599, 2011)reported equivalent priming from suffixed and non-suffixed nonword primes, hence questioning the morphological nature of prior findings. Here we provide a further investigation of masked priming with morphologically complex nonword primes with an aim to isolate factors that modulate the size of these priming effects. We conducted a masked primed lexical decision experiment in French, in which the same target (TRISTE) was preceded by a suffixed word (tristesse), a suffixed nonword (tristerie), a non-suffixed nonword (tristald), or an unrelated prime word (direction). Participants were split into two groups, based on their language proficiency. The results show that in the high proficiency group, comparable magnitudes of priming were obtained in all three related prime conditions (including the non-suffixed condition) relative to unrelated primes, whereas in the low proficiency group, priming was significantly reduced in the non-suffixed condition compared to the two suffixed conditions. These findings provide further evidence that individual differences in language proficiency can modulate the impact of morphological factors during reading, and an explanation for the discrepant findings in prior research.

Keywords

Morphological processing Morpho-orthographic segmentation Language proficiency Lexical decision Masked priming 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was supported by a postdoctoral grant from the Fyssen Foundation to Elisabeth Beyersmann and a grant from the European Research Council (ERC grant 230313) to Jonathan Grainger. This research was carried out within the Labex BLRI (ANR-11-LABX-0036) and has benefited from support from the French government, managed by the French National Agency for Research (ANR), Investments of the Future A*MIDEX (ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02). We also thank Jean-Baptiste Melmi for help with participant recruitment and testing.

References

  1. Andrews, S., & Hersch, J. (2010). Lexical precision in skilled readers: Individual differences in masked neighbor priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139(2), 299–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews, S., & Lo, S. (2013). Is morphological priming stronger for transparent than opaque words? It depends on individual differences in spelling and vocabulary. Journal of Memory and Language, 68, 279–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baayen, R. H. (2008). Analyzing linguistic data: A practical introduction to statistics using R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baayen, R. H., Davidson, D. J., & Bates, D. M. (2008). Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 390–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bates, D., Maechler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2014). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. R package version 1.1-5. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lme4
  6. Beyersmann, E., Castles, A., & Coltheart, M. (2012). Morphological processing during visual word recognition in developing readers: Evidence from masked priming. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(7), 1306–1326.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beyersmann, E., Duñabeitia, J. A., Carreiras, M., Coltheart, M., & Castles, A. (2013). Early morphological decomposition of suffixed words: Masked priming evidence with transposed-letter nonword primes. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34(5), 869–892.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowers, J. S., Davis, C. J., & Hanley, D. A. (2005). Automatic semantic activation of embedded words: Is there a “hat” in “that”? Journal of Memory and Language, 52, 131–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brent, M. R. (1997). Towards a unified model of lexical acquisition and lexical access. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 26, 363–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brent, M. R., & Cartwright, T. A. (1996). Distributional regularity and phonotactic constraints are useful for segmentation. Cognition, 611, 93–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brysbaert, M. (2013). LEXTALE_FR. A fast, free and efficient test to measure language proficiency in French. Psychologica Belgica, 53(1), 23–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crepaldi, D., Rastle, K., Davis, C. J., & Lupker, S. J. (2013). Seeing stems everywhere: Position-independent identification of stem morphemes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39(2), 510–525.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Crepaldi, D., Rastle, K., & Davis, M. H. (2010). Morphemes in their place: Evidence for position-specific identification of suffixes. Memory & Cognition, 38(3), 312–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diependaele, K., Morris, J., Serota, R. M., Bertrand, B., & Grainger, J. (2013). Breaking boundaries: Letter transpositions and morphological processing. Language & Cognitive Processes, 28(7), 988–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diependaele, K., Sandra, D., & Grainger, J. (2009). Semantic transparency and masked morphological priming: The case of prefixed words. Memory & Cognition, 37, 895–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Forster, K. I., & Forster, J. C. (2003). DMDX: A Windows display program with millisecond accuracy. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35(1), 116–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grainger, J., & Jacobs, A. M. (1996). Orthographic processing in visual word recognition: A multiple readout model. Psychological Review, 103, 518–565.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grainger, J., & Ziegler, J. C. (2011). A dual-route approach to orthographic processing. Frontiers in Psychology, 2(45).Google Scholar
  19. Kuznetsova, A., Brockhoff, P. B., & Christensen, R. H. B. (2014). lmerTest: Tests for random and fixed effects for linear mixed effect models (lmer objects of lme4 package): R package version 2.0-6. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lmerTest
  20. Longtin, C. M., & Meunier, F. (2005). Morphological decomposition in early visual word processing. Journal of Memory and Language, 53, 26–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Longtin, C. M., Segui, J., & Hallé, P. A. (2003). Morphological priming without morphological relationship. Cognitive Processes, 18, 313–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McCormick, S. F., Rastle, K., & Davis, M. H. (2009). Adore-able not adorable? Orthographic underspecification studied with masked repetition priming. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 21, 813–836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Morris, J., Porter, J. H., Grainger, J., & Holcomb, P. J. (2011). Effects of lexical status and morphological complexity in masked priming: An ERP study. Language & Cognitive Processes, 26(4–6), 558–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. New, B., Pallier, C., Brysbaert, M., & Ferrand, L. (2004). Lexique 2: A new French lexical database. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36, 516–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rastle, K., & Davis, M. H. (2008). Morphological decomposition based on the analysis of orthography. Language & Cognitive Processes, 23, 942–971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rastle, K., Davis, M. H., & New, B. (2004). The broth in my brother's brothel: Morpho-orthographic segmentation in visual word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11, 1090–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. RDevelopmentCoreTeam. (2008). R: A language and environment for statistical computing: R package version 1.1-5. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lme4
  28. Stone, G. O., & Van Orden, G. C. (1993). Strategic control of processing in word recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 19(4), 744–774.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Taft, M. (2004). Morphological decomposition and the reverse base frequency effect. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57, 745–765.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Taft, M., & Forster, K. I. (1975). Lexical storage and retrieval of prefixed words. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 14, 638–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wechsler, D. (1997). Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—Third Revision (WAIS-III). San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Beyersmann
    • 1
  • Séverine Casalis
    • 2
  • Johannes C. Ziegler
    • 1
  • Jonathan Grainger
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Psychologie CognitiveAix-Marseille Université and Centre National de la Recherche ScientifiqueMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire URECA (EA 1059)Université Lille Nord de FranceLilleFrance

Personalised recommendations