This article applies to:
Experiment Author: Susan Campbell. Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
Participants were presented with a word, followed immediately by a mask. Of interest was whether the mask's similarity to the target would facilitate naming of the target. Masks were either not, phonemically, or graphemically similar. The experimenters found that the phonemically similar masks facilitated naming better.
In this experiment participants see a target word, for a brief period of time, between 30 and 66 milliseconds. The target word is followed by a nonword mask: XXXXX. Participants are to remember the word and type it in the box provided after the mask. This experiment has 105 trials.
Perfetti, C.A., Bell, L.C., & Delaney, S.M. (1988). Automatic (prelexical) phonetic activation in silent word reading: Evidence from backward masking. Journal of Memory and Language, 27(1), 59-70.
Cited Experiment Abstract
Visual access to a printed word may be accompanied by a very rapid activation of phonetic properties of the word as well as its constituent letters. We suggest that such automatic activation during word identification, rather than only postlexical recoding, routinely occurs in reading. To demonstrate such activation, we varied the graphemic and phonemic properties shared by a word target and a following pseudoword mask. Graphemic (MARD) and homophonic (MAYD) masks, equated for number of letters shared with a word target (made), both showed a masking reduction effect relative to a control mask. There was an additional effect of the homophonic mask over the graphemic mask, attributable to phonetic activation. A second experiment verified this pattern of mask reduction effects using conditions that ruled out any explanation of the effect that does not take account of the target-mask relationship. We take the results to suggest that a phonetic activation nonoptionally occurs (prelexically) during lexical access.
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