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

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Murphy, K
Green, L
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Ulrich Ansorge


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Dallas and Merikle (1976a, 1976 b) 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. 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.

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Advances in Cognitive Psychology

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© The Author(s) 2011. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Cognitive and computational psychology


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