Research Article: The effect of target context and cue type in a postcue word pronunciation task

Date Published: September 22, 2011

Publisher: University of Finance and Management in Warsaw

Author(s): Karen Murphy, Lauren Green.

http://doi.org/10.2478/v10053-008-0086-0

Abstract

Dallas and Merikle (1976a, 1976b) demonstrated that when participants
were presented with a pair of words for over 1 s and subsequently cued to
pronounce one of the words aloud (postcue task) semantic priming effects
occurred. Humphreys, Lloyd-Jones, and Fias (1995) failed to replicate this postcue semantic priming effect using
word pairs that were semantic category co-ordinates. The aim of Experiment 1 was
to determine if the disparate postcue task results reported by these researchers
could be accounted for by the prime-target contexts or cue types engaging
different attentional processes or a combination of these factors. A postcue
pronunciation task was used and word pairs presented were taken from an
associate-semantic context and a semantic category context. In the Dallas and
Merikle condition the line cue flanked the location in which the target word was
previously shown. In the Humphreys et al. condition the cue word
UPPER or lower was centrally presented and
indicated the location in which the target word previously appeared. Results
demonstrated that the occurrence of semantic and associate-semantic priming
effects under postcue task conditions varied for the two cue types. Experiment 2
investigated if these results were attributable to a between subject
manipulation of cue type. Using a fully repeated measures design priming effects
were evident for top located targets in both the associate-semantic and semantic
prime-target contexts. Experiment 3 used a between subjects design to rule out
the possibility that carry over effects between cue and context conditions
contributed to the postcue task priming effects. Priming was evident for top
located targets in an associate-semantic and semantic context for the line cue.
For the word cue there was priming for top located targets from an
associate-semantic context and a reverse priming effect for top located targets
from the semantic context. Possible explanations for the occurrence of priming
effects under postcue task conditions are discussed.

Partial Text

Semantic priming refers to the finding that a target word (e.g.,
bread) is responded to more quickly after presentation of a
related prime word (e.g., butter) than after presentation of an
unrelated prime (e.g., doctor; Meyer & Schvaneveldt, 1971; see McNamara, 2005, and Neely, 1991,
for reviews). Typically pronunciation or lexical decision tasks are used in studies
of semantic priming; however postcue pronunciation tasks have been used to
investigate prime-target context effects for word pronunciation (e.g., Balota, Boland, & Shields, 1989; Dallas & Merikle, 1976a, 1976b; Humphreys, Lloyd-Jones, & Fias, 1995). In a postcue task,
participants are simultaneously presented with a pair of words for up to 1 s and
subsequently cued to pronounce the target item indicated by the cue.

If the difference between the studies is due to cue type, there should be a
significant priming effect across both prime-target contexts only in the Dallas and
Merikle (1976a, 1976b) line cue condition, with the magnitude of this priming effect
being greater for the associate-semantic condition than for the semantic condition
due to an associative boost. However, if the difference is due to the prime-target
context then there should be a greater priming effect in the associate-semantic than
the semantic prime-target context in both cue tasks.

While Experiment 1 showed that priming effects under postcue task conditions were
affected both by prime-target context and cue type, there is another possible
explanation for these results. The Dallas and Merikle (1976a, 1976b) experiments
only examined priming effects for associate-semantic word pairs and Humphreys et al.
(1995) only investigated semantic priming
effects under postcue task conditions. Thus in comparing the two studies both cue
type and prime-target context were manipulated as between subject factors. Thus it
is possible that individual differences across participant groups led to the dif-

Experiment 1 showed a larger priming effect for semantic than associate-semantic
words in the line cue condition and greater priming for the associate-semantic than
semantic conditions in the word cue task. Experiment 2 found priming effects for
both contexts but only for top located targets. It is possible that the use of
between and within subjects manipulations of cue type led to these different
results. For example, given that the studies conducted by Dallas and Merikle (1976a, 1976b) and Humphreys et al. (1995) only used one cue type and one word type for each set of experiments
it is possible that the results for the previous two experiments may be due to carry
over or interactive effects when manipulating cue type and or word type as within
subjects factors. Experiment 3 sought to provide a more direct comparison of the
Dallas and Merikle and Humphreys et al. studies by manipulating both cue type and
word type as between subjects factors.4

The results of Experiment 1 demonstrated priming within the line cue condition for
both prime-target contexts, with this effect being larger for the semantic than the
associate-semantic words pairs. In the word cue condition, the priming effect was
larger for associate-semantic than semantic word pairs. A larger priming effect was
evident for bottom compared to top located targets within the semantic prime-target
context, and only top located targets produced a significant priming effect for the
associate-semantic items. In Experiment 2, for both the word and line cue tasks
there was priming for top located targets for both the associate-semantic and
semantic prime-target words. Experiment 3 produced priming for top located targets from an associate-semantic and
semantic context for the line cue task, and in the word cue task there was priming
for top located targets in the associate-semantic context. The word cue task
revealed a reverse priming effect for top located targets from the semantic
context.

 

Source:

http://doi.org/10.2478/v10053-008-0086-0

 

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