Relatedness proportion effects in semantic categorization

reconsidering the automatic spreading activation process

Bianca De Wit*, Sachiko Kinoshita

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Semantic priming effects at a short prime-target stimulus onset asynchrony are commonly explained in terms of an automatic spreading activation process. According to this view, the proportion of related trials should have no impact on the size of the semantic priming effect. Using a semantic categorization task ("Is this a living thing?"), we show that on the contrary, there is a robust effect of relatedness proportion on the size of the semantic priming effect. This effect is not due to the participants using the prime to predict the target category/response, as manipulating the proportion of category/response-congruent trials produces a very different pattern. Taken together with response time distribution analysis, we argue that the semantic priming effect observed here is best explained in terms of an evidence accumulation process and source confusion between the prime and target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1733-1744
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • semantic priming
  • automatic spreading activation
  • evidence accumulation
  • source confusion
  • prime discounting

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Relatedness proportion effects in semantic categorization: reconsidering the automatic spreading activation process'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this