The role of semantic and phonological factors in word recognition: An ERP cross-modal priming study of derivational morphology

Aneta Kielar, Marc F. Joanisse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theories of morphological processing differ on the issue of how lexical and grammatical information are stored and accessed. A key point of contention is whether complex forms are decomposed during recognition (e.g., establish+. ment), compared to forms that cannot be analyzed into constituent morphemes (e.g., apartment). In the present study, we examined these issues with respect to English derivational morphology by measuring ERP responses during a cross-modal priming lexical decision task. ERP priming effects for semantically and phonologically transparent derived words (government-govern) were compared to those of semantically opaque derived words (apartment-apart) as well as "quasi-regular"items that represent intermediate cases of morphological transparency (dresser-dress). Additional conditions independently manipulated semantic and phonological relatedness in non-derived words (semantics: couch-sofa; phonology: panel-pan). The degree of N400 ERP priming to morphological forms varied depending on the amount of semantic and phonological overlap between word types, rather than respecting a bivariate distinction between derived and opaque forms. Moreover, these effects could not be accounted for by semantic or phonological relatedness alone. The findings support the theory that morphological relatedness is graded rather than absolute, and depend on the joint contribution of form and meaning overlap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-177
Number of pages17
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Derivational morphology
  • Event related potentials (ERP)
  • N400 priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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