Paper in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
  • Andrews, S. and Hersch, J. (2010). Lexical precision in skilled readers: Individual differences in masked neighbor priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139(2), 299-318.

    Two experiments investigated the relationship between masked form priming and individual differences in reading and spelling proficiency among university students. Experiment 1 assessed neighbor priming for 4-letter word targets from high- and low-density neighborhoods in 97 university students. The overall results replicated previous evidence of facilitatory neighborhood priming only for low-neighborhood words. However, analyses including measures of reading and spelling proficiency as covariates revealed that better spellers showed inhibitory priming for high-neighborhood words, while poorer spellers showed facilitatory priming. Experiment 2, with 123 participants, replicated the finding of stronger inhibitory neighbor priming in better spellers using 5-letter words and distinguished facilitatory and inhibitory components of priming by comparing neighbor primes with ambiguous and unambiguous partial-word primes (e.g., crow#, cr#wd, crown CROWD). The results indicate that spelling ability is selectively associated with inhibitory effects of lexical competition. The implications for theories of visual word recognition and the lexical quality hypothesis of reading skill are discussed.