Facilitation and Interference from Formally Similar Word Primes in a Naming Task

Penny M. Pexman*, Carolina Cristi, Stephen J. Lupker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The naming of a word (e.g., CAVE) is delayed if participants first name a formally similar, but nonrhyming, prime (e.g., HAVE). Taraban and McClelland (1987) interpreted this effect in terms of competition between activated phonological codes, while Bradshaw and Nettleton (1974) argued that these interference effects are due to conflicting output codes and only arise when primes are named. Experiment 1 shows interference effects for nonrhyming primes read silently (e.g., HAVE-CAVE), contrary to Bradshaw and Nettleton's claim, but rhyming primes (e.g., NEED-WEED) produced no facilitation, contrary to predictions from Taraban and McClelland's model. In Experiment 2 participants named both prime and target, and both interference and facilitation were observed. In Experiment 3 formally dissimilar rhyming prime-target pairs (e.g., EIGHT-HATE) produced no facilitation even when primes were named. Both interference and facilitation effects seem to result from a complicated interaction of orthographic, phonological, and output codes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-229
    Number of pages35
    JournalJournal of Memory and Language
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999


    • Orthography
    • Phonology
    • Priming
    • Word naming
    • Word recognition

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