The dependence of semantic relatedness effects upon prime processing

Avishai Henik, Wendy A. Kellogg, Frances J. Friedrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The semantic relationship between a prime and a target word has been shown to affect the speed at which the target word is processed. This series of experiments investigated how the semantic priming effect is influenced by the nature of the task performed on the prime word. Subjects were asked to perform either a naming or a letter-search task on the prime word and either a lexical-decision or color-naming task on the target word. When the primes were named, response times for the target words were facilitated in the lexical-decision task and inhibited in the color-naming task. However, these effects were eliminated or reduced to an insignificant level when the primes were searched for letters. We suggest that in order to produce the usual priming effect, the primes have to be processed for meaning rather than probed for constituents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-373
Number of pages8
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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