Adore-able not adorable? Orthographic underspecification studied with masked repetition priming

Samantha F. McCormick, Kathleen Rastle, Matthew H. Davis

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    35 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reports three masked priming experiments examining morphological priming with nonword primes, using targets that were incompletely represented in the primes due to a missing e at the morpheme boundary (e.g., adorage-adore). Primes were constructed with a vowel-initial suffix (e.g., adorage) in the first experiment and with a consonant-initial suffix (e.g., adorly) in the second experiment. Priming was observed in both experiments relative to an orthographic control condition. Experiment 3 was a control experiment designed to show that targets in the morphological and orthographic form conditions of the first two experiments were equally susceptible to priming. Overall, our findings provide support for a form of morphemic decomposition that is based on the mere appearance of morphological complexity (e.g., Rastle, Davis, New, 2004), and demonstrate that this form of morphemic decomposition is robust to regular orthographic alterations that occur in morphologically complex words.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)813-836
    Number of pages24
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


    • Masked priming
    • Morphologically complex pseudowords
    • Morphology
    • Visual word recognition


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