Search Versus Competition: Factors Affecting the Prime Lexicality Effect
AuthorThomas, Joseph Denard
AdvisorForster, Kenneth I.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the extent to which there is consistent evidence pertaining to the prime lexicality effect. Theoretical claims about the nature of this effect, in which masked nonword form primes produce greater facilitation than word form primes, have been hotly debated in the masked priming literature. Here, there are two major conflicting accounts of visual word recognition to consider. Cascaded activation approaches such as the Interactive Activation model rely on competition between word units to account for word recognition. This view predicts inhibitory effects for word form primes due to competition between word units for the prime and target. In contrast, proponents of the Search Model have maintained that elements in the process of verifying visual input suggest that word primes should produce neither facilitatory nor inhibitory effects during masked presentation. Evidence that is consistent with both approaches has been reported in the literature. A 1998 study by Forster and Veres looked at long words using a masked lexical decision task and demonstrated strong facilitation from nonword primes and no effect for word primes. A 2006 paper for Davis and Lupker, however, reported that the nonword prime facilitation that they observed using the same task was accompanied by strong word prime inhibition. The presence of this inhibitory effect seems to support the interactive activation account, but it remains unclear why inhibitory effects such as these were not seen in the Forster and Veres work. The present study sought to explore the reliability of the effects that are generated by word form primes. In particular, the different types of stimuli used in the conflicting papers (i.e. long versus short items) were contrasted. Evaluations regarding their relative discrimination difficulty and performance during masked lexical decision were conducted. The investigation revealed that there is indeed a difference between the output provided by those different stimulus types and that context effects emerge when they are presented together in the same experiment. The implications of these findings for the various views on visual word recognition are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College