Effects of association and semantic relatedness under super- and subliminal conditions in the lexical decision task
Damian, Markus Friedrich
Master of Arts
Two experiments investigated Shelton and Martin's (1992) claim that automatic priming effects in the lexical decision task appear for associatively related items only, but not for semantically related, unassociated items. Experiment 1 attempted to induce or suppress subject strategies by emphasizing either accuracy or speed. While inducing a main effect in overall response times, no interpretable facilitation effects were obtained. Experiment 1b clarified these findings by using the same stimuli, but without the procedural manipulation. Here, Shelton and Martin's findings were basically replicated, suggesting that the procedure employed in Experiment 1 prevented facilitation effects from arising. Experiment 2 used a masked paradigm that presumably prevents strategic influences. Primes were presented for 20, 30, 40, or 50 msec. Facilitation was obtained for a prime duration of 40 and 50 msec for both associatively related and semantically related, unassociated items, indicating an early rise of semantic information during single word processing. These experiments suggest that semantic activation develops quite rapidly at the initial stage of word recognition, but quickly fades away and shows no influence on lexical decision tasks with longer SOA's.