Differential effects of phonological priming on Chinese character recognition

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Abstract

We report two experiments investigating the effect of phonological priming on the recognition of two types of Chinese characters: compound targets which contain separate radical components; and integrated targets which do not contain separate radicals. We used a masked priming paradigm with varying prime-target exposure durations. In Experiment 1, phonological priming effects on compound target recognition were found following a 50 msec SOA. However, there was no evidence of phonological priming on integrated target recognition at this SOA. In Experiment 2 we investigated the time course of phonological priming effects at three prime-target SOAs (30, 50 and 80 msec) in a between-subjects design. Semantic priming effects were also investigated. Phonological priming effects on compound target recognition were found following the 50 msec and the 80 msec SOAs. However, there was no evidence of phonological priming on integrated target recognition at any SOA. Semantic priming effects on both compound and integrated target recognition were found in the 50 msec and the 80 msec SOA conditions suggesting that phonological and semantic activation are co-incidental during compound character recognition. We conclude that character type constrains the activation of phonology during Chinese character recognition.

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