Internally- and externally-driven network transitions as a basis for automatic and strategic processes in semantic priming: Theory and experimental validation

Itamar Lerner, Oren Shriki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

For the last four decades, semantic priming-the facilitation in recognition of a target word when it follows the presentation of a semantically related prime word-has been a central topic in research of human cognitive processing. Studies have drawn a complex picture of findings which demonstrated the sensitivity of this priming effect to a unique combination of variables, including, but not limited to, the type of relatedness between primes and targets, the prime-target Stimulus Onset Asynchrony (SOA), the relatedness proportion (RP) in the stimuli list and the specific task subjects are required to perform. Automatic processes depending on the activation patterns of semantic representations in memory and controlled strategies adapted by individuals when attempting to maximize their recognition performance have both been implicated in contributing to the results. Lately, we have published a new model of semantic priming that addresses the majority of these findings within one conceptual framework. In our model, semantic memory is depicted as an attractor neural network in which stochastic transitions from one stored pattern to another are continually taking place due to synaptic depression mechanisms. We have shown how such transitions, in combination with a reinforcement-learning rule that adjusts their pace, resemble the classic automatic and controlled processes involved in semantic priming and account for a great number of the findings in the literature. Here, we review the core findings of our model and present new simulations that show how similar principles of parameter-adjustments could account for additional data not addressed in our previous studies, such as the relation between expectancy and inhibition in priming, target frequency and target degradation effects. Finally, we describe two human experiments that validate several key predictions of the model.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 314
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume5
Issue numberAPR
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Controlled processes
  • Latching dynamics
  • Neural networks
  • Semantic memory
  • Semantic priming

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Internally- and externally-driven network transitions as a basis for automatic and strategic processes in semantic priming: Theory and experimental validation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this