Nonword Facilitation in a Lexical Decision Task

Sachiko Kinoshita*, Marcus Taft, John E. Taplin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


It has been reported in previous experiments that in a lexical decision task, sentence contexts facilitate decisions for nonword targets relative to a neutral context condition (e.g., Schuberth & Eimas, 1977). The present three experiments investigated possible explanations for this nonword facilitation effect, using moderately predictable sentence contexts. Results provided support for the view that nonword facilitation stems from an overestimate of the baseline decision latency when a neutral context condition and sentence context conditions are intermixed. Specifically, it was suggested that context affects a post-access decision stage during which sentential meaningfulness is used as a basis for making word-nonword discriminations and that nonword facilitation stems from an extra processing stage required for targets following a neutral context. Implications of this interpretation for the effects of sentence context on the recognition of words are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-362
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1985
Externally publishedYes


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