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Meade, G., & Coch, D. (2017). Word-pair priming with biased homonyms: N400 and LPC effects. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 41, 24-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2016.09.002
We investigated how biased homonyms (e.g., ruler), words with both a dominant meaning (a measurement tool) and a subordinate meaning (someone who rules), are processed without sentential context to bias one meaning or the other. We presented homonym prime words (e.g., ruler) followed 250 ms later by target words either unrelated (e.g., claw) or associated with the dominant (e.g., inch) or subordinate (e.g., king) meaning of the homonym. Both dominant and subordinate associates elicited smaller amplitude N400s and LPCs than unrelated word targets, indicating priming. The N400 priming effect was greater for dominant than subordinate associates, whereas the LPC priming effect was similar for dominant and subordinate associates. We concluded that, in this word-pair paradigm, priming effects of meaning frequency due to automatic spreading activation extended only to the N400 time window. By the LPC time window, effects of lexical dominance had disappeared and reprocessing of the binary relatedness of the prime and target took precedence.
This was a senior honors thesis study with the undergraduate listed as first author.
Article in the Journal of Neurolinguistics
Abstract and pdf at ScienceDirect (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0911604416300203)