Masked Homophone and Pseudohomophone Priming in Children and Adults

Chris Davis*, Anne Castles, Euthemia Iakovidis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


The experiments reported here investigated whether the phonological properties of visually presented words routinely influence the process of lexical access. Recent models of developing reading suggest that the potential for such phonological effects may vary as a function of reading experience. Four experiments were conducted, two with adults and two with fourth-grade children. A masked priming procedure was employed, in which the critical measurement was the facilitation observed in the recognition of a target word when it was preceded by a briefly masked exposure of a phonologically identical stimulus. The results indicated no priming of a target word from a phonologically identical prime for the adult subjects. This was the case even for primes and targets that had a high degree of orthographic overlap. The children also showed little evidence for masked phonological priming, although there was some indication that individual differences may exist, with some children using phonological information and others not. In general, our results provide little support for the claim that the phonological attributes of words are standardly used to achieve lexical access.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-651
Number of pages27
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


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