Masked inhibitory priming in English: Evidence for lexical inhibition

Colin J. Davis*, Stephen J. Lupker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    185 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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