Volume 12, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375
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  • The asymmetric contribution of consonants and vowels to phonological similarity

    Evidence from lexical priming

  • Author(s): Rory Turnbull 1  and Sharon Peperkamp 2
  • View Affiliations Hide Affiliations
    1 Department of Linguistics, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
    2 Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, Département d’Etudes Cognitives, ENS, EHESS, CNRS, PSL University
  • Source: The Mental Lexicon, Volume 12, Issue 3, Jan 2017, p. 404 - 430
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/ml.17010.tur
    • Version of Record published : 16 Mar 2018


Lexical priming is known to arise from phonological similarity between prime and target, and this phenomenon is an important component of our understanding of the processes of lexical access and competition. However, the precise nature of the role of phonological similarity in lexical priming is understudied. In the present study, two experiments were conducted in which participants performed auditory lexical decision on CVC targets which were preceded by primes that either matched the target in all phonemes (CVC condition), in the first two phonemes (CV_ condition), the last two phonemes (_VC condition), the initial and last phonemes (C_C condition) or no phonemes (unrelated condition). Relative to the unrelated condition, all conditions except CV_ led to facilitation of response time to target words. The _VC and C_C conditions led to equivalent facilitation magnitude, while the CV_ condition showed neither facilitation nor inhibition. Accounting for these results requires appeal to processes of lexical competition and also to the notion that phonemes do not lend equivalent phonological similarity; that is, vowels and consonants are processed differently.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): auditory priming; French; phonological priming; phonological similarity
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