Automatic semantic priming: the contribution of lexical and semantic level processes

De Mornay Davies, Paul ORCID logoORCID: (1998) Automatic semantic priming: the contribution of lexical and semantic level processes. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 10 (4) . pp. 389-412. ISSN 0954-1446 [Article] (doi:10.1080/713752286)


It has recently been argued that the facilitation between associated prime-target pairs observed in automatic semantic priming tasks is due to low level lexical effects. Any "pure" semantic priming is thought to be the result of strategic effects and does not therefore reflect automatic access to lexical semantic representations (e.g. Shelton & Martin, 1992). Not only are such claims based on a narrow definition of semantic relatedness as category co-membership, but it is argued that the methodology employed by Shelton & Martin and other advocates of the intra-lexical priming hypothesis who have attempted to dissociate semantic and associative effects by devising non-associated semantic prime-target pairs is fundamentally flawed.

Instead, an experiment is reported in which purely lexical-level primes are directly compared with semantic-level primes for the same target items in a sequential lexical decision task. Both types of prime produce facilitation, but only that from the semantic-level primes is significant. It is argued that contrary to the intra-lexical priming hypothesis, semantic information is required for automatic semantic priming. If it were not, the lexical-level priming in this experiment would have been greater than the semantic level. As it is, the reverse pattern is reported, providing support for the notion of a semantic contribution to the facilitation observed between associated prime-target pairs.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 15271
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Depositing User: Paul De Mornay davies
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 12:39
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2019 16:35

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