Semantic facilitation in lexical decision as a function of prime-target association

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Using a lexical decision task, the relationship between magnitude of semantic facilitation and degree of prime-target relatedness was examined as a function of amount of attention allocated to the prime and the prime-target interval. In none of the conditions studied did amount of facilitation vary with prime-target relatedness, a finding which was seen as inconsistent with the spread of activation account of the association effect in lexical decision. Both forward (prime to target) and backward (target to prime) associations were effective in producing semantic facilitation. Backward associates, however, were effective only during earlier stages of the experiment and forward associations only during later stages. The implications of these findings for the processes underlying the association effect was discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-598
Number of pages12
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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