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Semantic priming in number naming

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The issue of semantic and non-semantic conversion routes for numerals is still debated in numerical cognition. We report two number-naming experiments in which the target numerals were preceded by another numeral (prime). The primes and targets could be presented either in arabic (digit) notation or in verbal (alphabetical) notation. The results reveal a semantically related distance effect: Latencies are fastest when the prime has the same value as the target and increase when the distance between prime and target increases. We argue that the present results are congruent with the idea that the numerals make access to an ordered semantic number line common to all notations, as the results are the same for within-notation priming (arabic–arabic or verbal– verbal) and between-notations priming (arabic–verbal or verbal–arabic). The present results also point to a rapid involvement of semantics in the naming of numerals, also when the numerals are words. As such, they are in line with recent claims of rapid semantic mediation in word naming.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Publication date: October 1, 2002


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