Interactive activation in visual word recognition: constraints imposed by the joint effects of spatial attention and semantics

Jennifer A Stolz, Biljana Stevanovski
Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance 2004, 30 (6): 1064-76
Two lexical-decision experiments investigated the effects of semantic priming and stimulus intensity when target location varied and was cued by an abrupt onset. In Experiment 1, the spatial cue was a good predictor of target location, and in Experiment 2 it was not. The results indicate that word recognition processes were postponed until spatial attention was focused on the target and that whether attention further affected word recognition depended on cue validity. The joint effects of cue validity and priming interacted when cue validity was high but were additive when cue validity was low. The joint effects of stimulus intensity and semantic priming also varied according to cue validity (i.e., interactive when high and additive when low). The results are discussed in terms of their implications for visual word recognition, the distinction between exogenous and endogenous spatial attention, and how attention is affected by visual word recognition processes.

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