Morphological Priming in Word Reading: Word complexity and Word Processing

Morphological Priming in Word Reading: Word complexity and Word Processing

First Author: Carina Pinto -- CLUL, IPL
Keywords: Morphological processing, Reading comprehension, Masked priming lexical decision task
Abstract / Summary: 

Lexical processing with focus on morphological word structure is a relatively unexplored domain in reading research, namely in European Portuguese. Our main goal is to understand how morphological constituents are represented in the speakers’ internal lexicon, and how these representations are applied in visual word recognition (VWR), prior to lexical access. The framework used in this work is the Lexical quality hypothesis (Perfetti & Hart, 2001).
The study we present was developed according to a morphological masked priming paradigm, with a lexical decision task. We set 3 different conditions considering the prime/target morphological relationship: base word and a regular derived word (desejo/desejoso); base word and derived word with allomorphy of the suffix (defeito/defeituoso); base word with a lexicalized derived word (água/aquoso). Lexical items were controlled for length and frequency. Two duration prime times were used: 50ms and 100ms. We expected to find evidences of positive priming the shallower is the structural relationship between words, and the earlier the VWP processes are captured.
At 50ms presentation, there is significant difference in reaction times for both children and adults in the three conditions. At the 100ms, we found no significant differences in the reaction times in children, and in adults there is differences just in base word/regular derived word and in base word/derived word with suffix allomorphy. Our results suggest that morphology does play a role in VWR in both groups and they also suggest that this effect occurs in the very early stages of the reading process.