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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

January 1, 2001, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 121-143
(doi: 10.1162/089892901564117)
© 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Behavioral and Electrophysiological Study of Phonological Priming between Bisyllabic Spoken Words
Article PDF (480.88 KB)
Abstract

Phonological priming between bisyllabic (CV.CVC) spoken items was examined using both behavioral (reaction times, RTs) and electrophysiological (event-related potentials, ERPs) measures. Word and pseudoword targets were preceded by pseudoword primes. Different types of final phonological overlap between prime and target were compared. Critical pairs shared the last syllable, the rime or the coda, while unrelated pairs were used as controls. Participants performed a target shadowing task in Experiment 1 and a delayed lexical decision task in Experiment 2. RTs were measured in the first experiment and ERPs were recorded in the second experiment. The RT experiment was carried out under two presentation conditions. In Condition 1 both primes and targets were presented auditorily, while in Condition 2 the primes were presented visually and the targets auditorily. Priming effects were found in the unimodal condition only. RTs were fastest for syllable overlap, intermediate for rime overlap, and slowest for coda overlap and controls that did not differ from one another. ERPs were recorded under unimodal auditory presentation. ERP results showed that the amplitude of the auditory N400 component was smallest for syllable overlap, intermediate for rime overlap, and largest for coda overlap and controls that did not differ from one another. In both experiments, the priming effects were larger for word than for pseudoword targets. These results are best explained by the combined influences of nonlexical and lexical processes, and a comparison of the reported effects with those found in monosyllables suggests the involvement of rime and syllable representations.