14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

On the Suitability of the Cross-Modal Semantic Priming Task

Esther Janse, Hugo Quené

Utrecht institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

In auditory word recognition, multiple word candidates are assumed to be activated before one candidate is selected. Sentence context is supposed to increase the activation of the appropriate word candidate, even before it is selected. Results from one particular cross-modal semantic priming study (Zwitserlood 1989) are often advanced as positive evidence for both claims. Other priming studies, however, report inconsistent results regarding multiple activation and the role of context. The present study was set up to test the validity of the cross-modal priming task for the study of early stages of word recognition. This was done by replicating the original study by Zwitserlood, with several improvements. However, the results did not show any early priming effects. Consequently, the influence of context on the activation of word candidates cannot be established. Our tentative conclusion is that cross-modal semantic priming is not suitable for studying the early stages of word recognition.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Janse, Esther / Quené, Hugo (1999): "On the suitability of the cross-modal semantic priming task", In ICPhS-14, 1937-1940.