[PS-2.66] Semantic priming is retrospective: Evidence from survival analysis

Hoedemaker, R. S. . 1 & Gordon, P. C. 2

1 Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, Netherlands
2 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Current research on semantic priming during word recognition involves attempts to distinguish prospective priming processes, those that begin before the target word in a prime-target pair is encountered, from retrospective priming processes that only begin after the target word has been encountered. Participants in the current study read sequences of four words with experimental prime-target pairs appearing in the first and second position of each set (e.g. 'spring summer mustard wolf'). Gaze contingencies were used so that valid parafoveal preview of the target was either available (Experiment 1) or masked (Experiment 2). Survival analyses showed that the semantic priming effect emerged significantly earlier when the target word was available in parafoveal preview (183 ms after the target was first fixated) compared to when preview was masked (265 ms after target fixation), and the proportion of reading times shorter than the minimum duration required to observe priming was smaller for valid compared to masked preview targets (7% vs. 27%), t(58) = 4.80. Consistent with retrospective accounts, the current results show that the onset of priming depends on the perceptual availability of target word information rather than the prime-target stimulus-onset asynchrony.