Similarity effects in masked priming of action words

Sullivan, Megan (2010). Similarity effects in masked priming of action words Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Sullivan, Megan
Thesis Title Similarity effects in masked priming of action words
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-01-01
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor De Zubicaray, Greig I.
Total pages 75
Abstract/Summary Embodied semantics proposes that mental simulation of an action word plays an integral role in the comprehension of an action word. A strong prediction made by embodied semantics is that effector-specific activation (which occurs in action execution and observation) should occur during comprehension of effector-related action words. Hard versions of embodied semantics predict that effector-specific activation should occur automatically, whereas soft versions predict that effector-specific activation should occur when attention is directed to action features. A masked paradigm was adopted to access semantic processing while avoiding confounds associated with conscious attention. In the present study, 35 participants completed a masked priming study, where target words represented hand-related verbs and the relationship between the prime and target was manipulated across three levels. There were semantically related category-congruent primes (hand-related verbs), semantically unrelated category-congruent primes (leg-related verbs) and other semantically unrelated primes (colour words or vocal action words). The depth of feature processing was also manipulated, with a low depth of processing condition to test the hard version of embodied semantics (colour categorisation task), and a high depth of processing condition to test the soft version of embodied semantics (vocal action categorisation task). Results showed no significant differences in priming between semantically related category-congruent prime words (handrelated verbs) and semantically unrelated category-congruent prime words (leg-related verbs) for either categorisation task. These results indicated that effector-specific activation did not occur automatically or when attention was directed to action features, and contradicted both hard and soft versions of embodied semantics. Participants also completed a questionnaire to obtain normative data on the imageability and familiarity the prime words.

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Created: Wed, 06 Apr 2011, 22:43:06 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology