We examined associative priming of words (e.g., TOAD) and pseudohomophones of those words (e.g., TODE) in lexical decision. In addition to word frequency effects, reliable base-word frequency effects were observed for pseudohomophones: Those based on high-frequency words elicited faster and more accurate correct rejections. Associative priming had disparate effects on high- and low-frequency items. Whereas priming improved performance to high-frequency pseudohomophones, it impaired performance to low-frequency pseudohomophones. The results suggested a resonance process, wherein phonologic identity and semantic priming combine to undermine the veridical perception of infrequent items. We tested this hypothesis in another experiment by administering a surprise recognition memory test after lexical decision. When asked to identify words that were spelled correctly during lexical decision, the participants often misremembered pseudohomophones as correctly spelled items. Patterns of false memory, however, were jointly affected by base-word frequencies and their original responses during lexical decision. Taken together, the results are consistent with resonance accounts of word recognition, wherein bottom-up and top-down information sources coalesce into correct, and sometimes illusory, perception. The results are also consistent with a recent lexical decision model, REM-LD, that emphasizes memory retrieval and top-down matching processes in lexical decision.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)