Morphological priming during reading: evidence from eye movements

Paterson, Kevin, Alcock, Alison and Liversedge, Simon Paul orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8579-8546 (2011) Morphological priming during reading: evidence from eye movements. Language and Cognitive Processes, 26 (4-6). pp. 600-623. ISSN 0169-0965

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We report an eye movement experiment that investigated whether prior exposure to morphologically related and unrelated primes influenced processing of a target word that appeared later in the same sentence. Prime-target pairs had a semantically transparent (e.g., marshy-marsh) or only an apparent morphological relationship (e.g., secretary-secret), or were morphologically unrelated but overlapped in orthography (e.g., extract-extra). Reading times for target words revealed facilitation effects in measures of both early and late processing only for targets that followed semantically transparent morphological primes, providing evidence of semantically mediated priming between words read normally in a sentence. In addition, an increase in target word skipping and in regressions from a posttarget region when targets followed primes rather than control words, regardless of the morphological relationship between the words, suggests that prime-target orthographic overlap influences parafoveal processing of target words. We discuss our findings in relation to morphological priming during isolated word recognition and the process of lexical identification during reading.

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