Effects of Auditory and Visual Priming on the Identification of Spoken Words

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This study examined the effects of preceding contextual stimuli, either auditory or visual, on the identification of spoken target words. Fifty-one participants (29% males, 71% females; mean age = 24.5 years, SD = 8.5) were divided into three groups: no context, auditory context, and visual context. All target stimuli were spoken words masked with white noise. The relationships between the context and target stimuli were as follows: identical word, similar word, and unrelated word. Participants presented with context experienced a sequence of six context stimuli in the form of either spoken words or photographs. Auditory and visual context conditions produced similar results, but the auditory context aided word identification more than the visual context in the similar word relationship. We discuss these results in the light of top-down processing, motor theory, and the phonological system of language.

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