The effect of neighborhood density on visual word recognition was found to be facilitatory for words but inhibitory for nonwords in 3 lexical-decision experiments. However, the facilitation virtually disappeared when the task was changed to semantic categorization (animal vs. nonanimal), despite the presence of a strong frequency effect. None of these experiments showed a consistent inhibitory effect of a higher frequency neighbor. The absence of inhibitory effects suggests that competition does not play a key role in visual word recognition. The data also suggest that the neighborhood density effect is not an access effect but is a task-dependent effect instead.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition|
|Publication status||Published - May 1996|