Vol. 11, No. 2
Contexts That Pack a Punch: Lexical Class Priming of Picture Naming
Department of Cognitive Science and Psychology*, University of California, San Diego
This study examined the effect of semantically-impoverished, lexical-class predicting contexts on reaction times to name line drawings of objects and actions. Using the same sets of noun-predicting, neutral, and verb-predicting contexts, Liu (1996) found lexical class priming effects on both written and spoken word naming times. We extended this result to picture naming. The naming of objects was facilitated in noun-predicting contexts and inhibited in verb-predicting contexts, relative to naming times in neutral contexts. Similarly, the naming of actions was facilitated in verb-predicting contexts and marginally inhibited in noun-predicting contexts, relative to neutral. Although all three experiments (written word naming, spoken word naming, and picture naming) showed effects of syntactic primes, the exact pattern of results differed in each case. These differences suggest a complex interaction between modality and language context that no current model of lexical access adequately predicts.