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ERIC Number: EJ1056069
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Additive Effects of Word Frequency and Stimulus Quality: The Influence of Trial History and Data Transformations
Balota, David A.; Aschenbrenner, Andrew J.; Yap, Melvin J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n5 p1563-1571 Sep 2013
A counterintuitive and theoretically important pattern of results in the visual word recognition literature is that both word frequency and stimulus quality produce large but additive effects in lexical decision performance. The additive nature of these effects has recently been called into question by Masson and Kliegl (in press), who used linear mixed effects modeling to provide evidence that the additive effects were actually being driven by previous trial history. Because Masson and Kliegl also included semantic priming as a factor in their study and recent evidence has shown that semantic priming can moderate the additivity of word frequency and stimulus quality (Scaltritti, Balota, & Peressotti, 2012), we reanalyzed data from 3 published studies to determine if previous trial history moderated the additive pattern when semantic priming was not also manipulated. The results indicated that previous trial history did not influence the joint influence of word frequency and stimulus quality. More important, and independent of Masson and Kliegl's conclusions, we also show how a common transformation used in linear mixed effects analyses to normalize the residuals can systematically alter the way in which two variables combine to influence performance. Specifically, using transformed, rather than raw reaction times, consistently produces more underadditive patterns.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institute on Aging (DHHS/NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: T32 AG000030-32; PO1 AG03881; PO1 AGO26276