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Priming for new associations in animacy decision: Evidence for context dependency

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In four experiments we investigated the context-dependent nature of semantic memory by looking at priming effects in animacy decision for newly formed associations. The first experiment investigated whether the priming effect depended on the nature of the prior relation between the word pairs. The results showed no such effect, replicating earlier findings. Experiments 2, 3, and 4 investigated the role of context overlap between study and test. In Experiment 2 priming for new associations was found only for word pairs that had been presented in the animacy decision task during study. Experiment 3 showed that in order to obtain priming effects for new associations these associations have to be studied in a study task that is aimed at unitized processing of the word pair at a semantic level. Experiment 4 showed that processing the pairs as separate words at an orthographic level cancelled the priming effect. The results are explained by assuming that priming results from the overlap of features that are activated during both study and test.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980343000738

Affiliations: 1: University of Amsterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam Rotterdam The Netherlands 2: University of Amsterdam Amsterdam The Netherlands

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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