Locus of inhibition effects in the priming of lexical decisions: pre- or postlexical access?

Robert F. Lorch, David A. Balota, Edward G. Stamm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The lexical decision task has been employed to investigate the effects of semantic context on word recognition. A frequent finding from the task is that "word" responses are slower when the target is preceded by an unrelated word than when it is preceded by a neutral stimulus. This inhibition effect has been interpreted as indicating that the unrelated prime interferes with word-recognition processes operating on the target. In three experiments, the effects of unrelated primes were compared for a lexical decision and word naming task. Although large inhibition effects were found for the lexical decision task in all experiments, no inhibition effects were observed for the naming task. The results are interpreted as demonstrating that inhibition effects in the lexical decision task are not on recognition processes; rather they are located at processes operating after recognition of the target has occurred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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