Discrimination in Lexical Decision

Petar Milin, Laurie Beth Feldman, Michael Ramscar, Peter Hendrix, R. Harald Baayen

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Abstract


In this study we present a novel set of discrimination-based indicators of language processing derived from Naive Discriminative Learning ( NDL ) Theory (Baayen, Milin, Filipovic Ðurdevic, Hendrix, & Marelli, 2011). We compare the effectiveness of these new measures with classical lexical-distributional measures — in particular, frequency counts and form similarity measures — to predict lexical decision latencies when a complete morphological segmentation of masked primes is or is not possible. Data derive from a re-analysis of a large subset of decision latencies from the English Lexicon Project (Balota et al., 2007), as well as from the results of two new masked priming studies. Results demonstrate the superiority of discrimination-based predictors over lexical-distributional predictors alone, across both the simple and primed lexical decision tasks. Comparable priming af ter masked CORNER and CORNEA type primes, across two experiments, fails to support early obligatory segmentation into morphemes as predicted by the morphoorthographic account of reading. Results fit well with NDL theory, which, in conformity with word and paradigm theory (Blevins, 2003), rejects the morpheme as a relevant unit of analysis. Furthermore, results indicate that readers with greater spelling proficiency and larger vocabularies make better use of orthographic priors and handle lexical competition more efficiently.

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