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Implicit word activation during pre-recognition processing influences correct recognition and estimates of presentation frequency

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False recognition of new test words is higher for experimental lures (e.g., universal) with initial phonemes identical to studied words (e.g., university) than for control lures. A proposed mechanism to explain this phenomenon involves implicit activation of potential solution words during the brief period of uncertainty immediately following onset of a spoken study word. Two experiments examined whether the presumed pre-recognition processing during the stimulus discovery phase of spoken word identification increased familiarity of a studied word, thereby increasing correct recognitions and estimates of presentation frequency. Critical test words were presented a single time during study in Experiment 1, and their phonologically related words were presented one, two, or three times. Correct recognition and frequency estimates of targets were enhanced by multiple presentations of associates sharing initial phonemes. Experiment 2 provided a replication with five repetitions of phonological associates during study and two study presentations of critical test words. The results of these two experiments confirmed a necessary theoretical consequence of the implicit activation mechanism that has been invoked to explain the effects of phonological similarity on false recognition.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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