ASA 124th Meeting New Orleans 1992 October

1aSP4. Evidence for activation of sublexical units in auditory lexical decision.

Emily A. Lyons

Paul A. Luce

Language Perception Lab., Dept. of Psychol., State Univ. of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260

Many words in English (e.g., HEMLOCK) contain component syllables that are themselves words (HEM and LOCK). Some research on spoken word recognition has attempted to determine if these component words are activated when the longer word is heard. If so, what effect does activation of the component words have on the recognition of the longer word? A lexical decision experiment was performed that examined reaction times to bisyllabic spoken words that contained syllables that were themselves either words or nonwords. The results demonstrated that subjects were faster to respond to bisyllabic words in which the first syllable was a word (e.g., KIDNEY) than to bisyllabic words in which the first syllable was a nonword (e.g., CHIMNEY). These findings are consistent with earlier research using cross modal priming techniques that has demonstrated that embedded words can speed responding to a visually presented related word. Additionally, these findings suggest that the activation of component words has a demonstrable effect on recognition time. [Work supported by NIH Grant No. DC-00879-01 to the State University of New York at Buffalo.]