Is translation priming asymmetry due to partial awareness of the prime?

Xin Wang*, Kenneth Forster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


A 50ms prime duration is often adopted in both L1-L2 and L2-L1 directions in the cross-language priming paradigm. It is unknown how aware bilinguals are of the briefly presented primes of different scripts; and whether the degree of awareness of L1 and L2 primes is at a similar level. Kouider and Dupoux's (2004) proposal of partial awareness suggests that 50ms English primes were sufficient to make a semantic interpretation. It is unclear whether this is the case when processing one's L2 or a different script. Experiment 1 was designed to measure the comparable prime durations for semantic interpretation of Chinese primes vs. English primes. Experiment 2 tested whether partial awareness of primes would cause priming asymmetry. Our findings demonstrate that a 50ms prime duration gave rise to different degrees of semantic activation in different scripts and L1/L2. However, increasing prime duration on L2 primes did not produce L2-L1 priming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-669
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese-English bilinguals
  • cross-script translation priming
  • partial awareness
  • priming asymmetry
  • the bilingual lexicon


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