No enemies in the neighborhood: Absence of inhibitory neighborhood effects in lexical decision and semantic categorization

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Abstract

The effect of neighborhood density on visual word recognition was found to be facilitatory for words but inhibitory for nonwords in 3 lexical-decision experiments. However, the facilitation virtually disappeared when the task was changed to semantic categorization (animal vs. nonanimal), despite the presence of a strong frequency effect. None of these experiments showed a consistent inhibitory effect of a higher frequency neighbor. The absence of inhibitory effects suggests that competition does not play a key role in visual word recognition. The data also suggest that the neighborhood density effect is not an access effect but is a task-dependent effect instead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-713
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Volume22
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1996

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Semantics
semantics
experiment
Lexical Semantics
Semantic Categorization
Enemy
Lexical Decision
Neighborhood Effects
animal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "The effect of neighborhood density on visual word recognition was found to be facilitatory for words but inhibitory for nonwords in 3 lexical-decision experiments. However, the facilitation virtually disappeared when the task was changed to semantic categorization (animal vs. nonanimal), despite the presence of a strong frequency effect. None of these experiments showed a consistent inhibitory effect of a higher frequency neighbor. The absence of inhibitory effects suggests that competition does not play a key role in visual word recognition. The data also suggest that the neighborhood density effect is not an access effect but is a task-dependent effect instead.",
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