Faculty Publications

Title

Priming dominant and unusual senses of ambiguous words

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Memory & Cognition

Volume

6

Issue

6

First Page

636

Last Page

643

Abstract

The priming technique was used to investigate the conditions under which a homograph's dominant and/or nondominant semantic sense will be retrieved. Subjects verified whether "A(n) A is a(n) B" when A was an ambiguous word and B was a word corresponding to either a dominant or an unusual semantic sense of word A. When word B most often corresponded to the dominant sense of word A (Experiment I), a Priming by Dominance interaction was obtained in the reaction time (RT) data; viz, the facilitatory effect of priming was greater for the dominant-sense sentences than for the unusual-sense sentences. When the word B equally often corresponded to the dominant and unusual senses of A (Experiment 2), the facilitatory effect of priming was equal for the dominant-sense and unusual-sense sentences. These results were interpreted within the framework of a two-stage model of lexical access (d. Posner & Snyder, 1975; Neely, 1977). An application of this two-stage model to the now rather extensive literature on homographic processing helps clear up the apparent contradictions that have been prevalent in this literature. © 1978 Psychonomic Society, Inc.

Original Publication Date

11-1-1978

DOI of published version

10.3758/BF03198254

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