Phonological and semantic priming

Evidence for task-independent effects

Aïcha Rouibah*, Guy Tiberghien, Stephen J. Lupker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


The questions asked in the present experiments concern the generality of semantic and phonological priming effects: Do these effects arise automatically regardless of target task, or are these effects restricted to target tasks that specifically require the retrieval of the primed information? In Experiment 1, subjects produced faster color matching times on targets preceded by a masked rhyming prime than on targets preceded by an orthographic control or an unrelated prime. This result suggests that automatic priming effects on the basis of phonological similarity can be obtained even when the target task does not make use of phonological information. This claim was reinforced in Experiment 2 in which a rhyme priming effect and a semantic priming effect were found in a semantic categorization task. In Experiment 3, the target task was phonological (rhyme detection), and, again, both phonological and semantic priming effects were observed. Finally, in Experiments 4 and 5, in a replication and an extension of Experiment 1, phonological and semantic priming effects were found in a color matching task, a task involving neither phonological nor semantic processing. These results are most straightforwardly interpreted by assuming that both semantic and phonological priming effects are, at least in part, due to automatic activation of memorial representations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-437
Number of pages16
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1999

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