ERIC Number: ED240424
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Aging and the Semantic Priming of Lexical Decisions.
Howard, Darlene V.; Burke, Deborah M.
Research on the cognitive processes used in semantic priming has shown that the processing of a given stimulus is speeded by prior processing of a related stimulus as the result of automatic and/or effortful priming. To investigate the effect of age on semantic priming, two independent studies were conducted at Pomona College in California and at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In the Pomona study, 64 adults (32 young adults, 32 older adults) decided whether or not a visually presented sequence of letters (target) was a word after being shown a prime. Semantic relatedness, participant expectations for the target, and stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA), i.e., the interval between the onset of the prime and the onset of the target, served as independent variables. An analysis of the results showed no evidence that older adults have a more limited ability to switch attention, or that they require more time than younger adults to do so. No age differences in the effortful components of semantic priming, nor in automatic priming at the 410 msecond stimulus onset were found. In the Georgetown study, 108 adults made decisions on target words after being shown a prime, similar to the Pomona study. The stimulus onset was varied between subjects. An analysis of the results showed that, as in the Pomona study, no age differences in priming occurred at stimulus onsets of 450 and 1000 mseconds. However, at 150 mseconds, age differences in automatic semantic priming did occur, with younger adults showing significantly more effect. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Aging (DHHS/NIH), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Automatic Language Processing; Effort; Semantic Priming
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983).