Date of Award
Program or Major
Doctor of Philosophy
Several models of printed word recognition claim that phonology mediates lexical access. Four experiments employing lexical decision tasks and naming tasks were conducted to assess this claim. Homonyms such as "mint" were used in Experiment 1 to verify that both meanings of an ambiguous word are activated automatically upon presentation. In a priming paradigm with a 250 millisecond SOA, the homonym "mint" was found to facilitate the recognition of words related to both interpretations such as "candy" and "coin." In the remaining three experiments, homophones such as "dough" and "doe" were used to assess the role of phonology in lexical priming. Experiment 2 examined the priming effects of visually presented homophone primes (e.g., "dough") upon responses to a target word that was either semantically related to the prime (e.g., "bread") or mediated by the phonological code for the prima (e.g., "deer"). Priming effects were found for targets that were semantically related to the prime, but not for targets that were mediated by a phonological code. In Experiment 3, the homophone (e.g., "dough") served as the target and the prime was either semantically related (e.g., "bread") or mediated by a phonological code (e.g., "deer"). In the lexical decision task, priming effects were observed when the prime was semantically related, but not when the prime was mediated by a phonological code. However, in the naming task, priming effects were observed when the prime was mediated by a phonological code. In the last experiment, the homophone (e.g., "dough") again served as a prime, but it was made ambiguous by auditory presentation. Priming effects were evident for both interpretations of the ambiguous word in both lexical decision and naming. These results indicate that phonology plays a role in lexical access when the homophone is presented auditorily, and when the homophone must be pronounced; but phonology does not appear to play a role in lexical access when the homophone is presented visually, or when the response does not involve pronunciation. These results suggest a limitation on the role of phonology in models of printed word recognition.
Fleming, Kevin Kyle, "When dough is a female deer: The role of homophony in lexical priming" (1990). Doctoral Dissertations. 1625.