Vol. 19:1 (2016) ► pp.94–113
Masked onset priming in lexical decision
Differential effects in adults and beginning readers
In masked onset priming (MOPE) there is an overlap between prime and target in the onset. This has been shown to lead to faster word recognition of the target in adults in naming tasks but not in lexical decision tasks. To take a developmental stance, the present study investigated MOPE of various onsets in 30 adults and 74 second graders in a lexical decision task. For adults we found no effects for MOPE in lexical decision, which is congruent with the literature. However, results revealed priming effects for the beginning readers: accuracy scores were higher and response times were shorter for both words and pseudowords when there was an overlap of the onset between prime and target. The effects that we found may reflect either sublexical processing or speech planning, leaving it for future research to reach a firm conclusion with regard to underlying processes. Based on our findings, it can tentatively be assumed that beginning readers are susceptible to MOPE in lexical decision because of the fact that their word identification is far from automated.