Fluency Can Bias Masked Priming of Binary Judgments: Evidence From an All-Nonword Task

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Using a novel all-nonword task (“Does the target have more vowels than consonants?”), new evidence is provided showing that processing fluency can bias masked priming of binary judgments. Two experiments revealed masked repetition priming for “yes” nonwords (e.g., NUISO) but not for “no” nonwords (e.g., RULON). This pattern is considered evidence that the greater ease of target processing induced by repetition primes was attributed to the target being a member of the response category associated with shorter RTs, namely the “yes” response category. This pattern of nonword priming effects reinforces Bodner and Masson’s (1997) key claims: (a) a fluency-attribution process can influence masked priming, and (b) therefore, the masked-priming paradigm does not isolate lexical processes.

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