Masked inhibitory priming in English

Evidence for lexical inhibition

Colin J. Davis*, Stephen J. Lupker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

154 Citations (Scopus)


Predictions derived from the interactive activation (IA) model were tested in 3 experiments using the masked priming technique in the lexical decision task. Experiment 1 showed a strong effect of prime lexicality: Classifications of target words were facilitated by orthographically related nonword primes (relative to unrelated nonword primes) but were inhibited by orthographically related word primes (relative to unrelated word primes). Experiment 2 confirmed IA's prediction that inhibitory priming effects are greater when the prime and target share a neighbor. Experiment 3 showed a minimal effect of target word neighborhood size (N) on inhibitory priming but a trend toward greater inhibition when nonword foils were high-N than when they were low-N. Simulations of 3 different versions of the IA model showed that the best fit to the data is produced when lexical inhibition is selective and when masking leads to reset of letter activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-687
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Inhibition
  • Interactive activation
  • Lexical decision
  • Masked priming
  • Visual word recognition

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