Semantic context and word frequency effects in visual word recognition

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Abstract

Semantic context and word frequency factors exert a strong influence on the time it takes Ss to recognize words. Some of the explanations that have been offered for the effects of the 2 factors suggest that context and frequency should interact, and other explanations imply additivity. In a recent study, R. E. Schuberth and P. D. Eimas (see record 1977-22682-001) reported that context and frequency effects added to determine their Ss' reaction times in a lexical decision (word vs nonword) task. The present experiments with 59 undergraduates reexamine this question with improved procedures. The data show that context and frequency do interact, with a semantic context facilitating the processing of low-frequency words more than high-frequency words. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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