Does jugde activate COURT? Transposed-letter similarity effects in masked associative priming

Manuel Perea*, Stephen J. Lupker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

173 Citations (Scopus)


Transposed-letter (TL) nonwords (e.g., jugde) can be easily misperceived as words, a fact that is somewhat inconsistent with the letter-position-coding schemes employed by most current models of visual word recognition. To examine this issue further, we conducted four masked semantic/associative priming experiments, using a lexical decision task. In Experiment 1, the related primes could be words, TL-internal nonwords, or replacement-letter (RL) nonwords (e.g., judge, jugde, or judpe, respectively; the target would be COURT). Relative to an unrelated condition, masked TL-internal primes produced a significant semantic/associative priming effect, an effect that was only slightly smaller than the priming effect for word primes. No effect, however, was observed for RL-nonword primes. In Experiment 2, the TL-nonword primes were created by switching the two final letters of the primes (e.g., judeg). The results again showed a semantic/associative priming effect for word primes, but not for TL-final nonword primes or for RL-nonword primes. Experiment 3 replicated the associative/semantic priming effect for TL-internal nonword primes, with, again, no effect for TL-final nonword primes. Finally, Experiment 4 again failed to yield a priming effect for TL-final nonword primes. The implications of these results for the choice of a letter-position-coding scheme in visual word recognition models are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-841
Number of pages13
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003

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