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      Must analysis of meaning follow analysis of form? A time course analysis


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          Many models of word recognition assume that processing proceeds sequentially from analysis of form to analysis of meaning. In the context of morphological processing, this implies that morphemes are processed as units of form prior to any influence of their meanings. Some interpret the apparent absence of differences in recognition latencies to targets (SNEAK) in form and semantically similar (sneaky-SNEAK) and in form similar and semantically dissimilar (sneaker-SNEAK) prime contexts at a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of 48 ms as consistent with this claim. To determine the time course over which degree of semantic similarity between morphologically structured primes and their targets influences recognition in the forward masked priming variant of the lexical decision paradigm, we compared facilitation for the same targets after semantically similar and dissimilar primes across a range of SOAs (34–100 ms). The effect of shared semantics on recognition latency increased linearly with SOA when long SOAs were intermixed (Experiments 1A and 1B) and latencies were significantly faster after semantically similar than dissimilar primes at homogeneous SOAs of 48 ms (Experiment 2) and 34 ms (Experiment 3). Results limit the scope of form-then-semantics models of recognition and demonstrate that semantics influences even the very early stages of recognition. Finally, once general performance across trials has been accounted for, we fail to provide evidence for individual differences in morphological processing that can be linked to measures of reading proficiency.

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          Most cited references64

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          An introduction to latent semantic analysis

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            Words in the brain's language.

            If the cortex is an associative memory, strongly connected cell assemblies will form when neurons in different cortical areas are frequently active at the same time. The cortical distributions of these assemblies must be a consequence of where in the cortex correlated neuronal activity occurred during learning. An assembly can be considered a functional unit exhibiting activity states such as full activation ("ignition") after appropriate sensory stimulation (possibly related to perception) and continuous reverberation of excitation within the assembly (a putative memory process). This has implications for cortical topographies and activity dynamics of cell assemblies forming during language acquisition, in particular for those representing words. Cortical topographies of assemblies should be related to aspects of the meaning of the words they represent, and physiological signs of cell assembly ignition should be followed by possible indicators of reverberation. The following postulates are discussed in detail: (1) assemblies representing phonological word forms are strongly lateralized and distributed over perisylvian cortices; (2) assemblies representing highly abstract words such as grammatical function words are also strongly lateralized and restricted to these perisylvian regions; (3) assemblies representing concrete content words include additional neurons in both hemispheres; (4) assemblies representing words referring to visual stimuli include neurons in visual cortices; and (5) assemblies representing words referring to actions include neurons in motor cortices. Two main sources of evidence are used to evaluate these proposals: (a) imaging studies focusing on localizing word processing in the brain, based on stimulus-triggered event-related potentials (ERPs), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and (b) studies of the temporal dynamics of fast activity changes in the brain, as revealed by high-frequency responses recorded in the electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalogram (MEG). These data provide evidence for processing differences between words and matched meaningless pseudowords, and between word classes, such as concrete content and abstract function words, and words evoking visual or motor associations. There is evidence for early word class-specific spreading of neuronal activity and for equally specific high-frequency responses occurring later. These results support a neurobiological model of language in the Hebbian tradition. Competing large-scale neuronal theories of language are discussed in light of the data summarized. Neurobiological perspectives on the problem of serial order of words in syntactic strings are considered in closing.
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              The broth in my brother's brothel: morpho-orthographic segmentation in visual word recognition.

              Much research suggests that words comprising more than one morpheme are represented in a "decomposed" manner in the visual word recognition system. In the research presented here, we investigate what information is used to segment a word into its morphemic constituents and, in particular, whether semantic information plays a role in that segmentation. Participants made visual lexical decisions to stem targets preceded by masked primes sharing (1) a semantically transparent morphological relationship with the target (e.g., cleaner-CLEAN), (2) an apparent morphological relationship but no semantic relationship with the target (e.g., corner-CORN), and (3) a nonmorphological form relationship with the target (e.g., brothel-BROTH). Results showed significant and equivalent masked priming effects in cases in which primes and targets appeared to be morphologically related, and priming in these conditions could be distinguished from nonmorphological form priming. We argue that these findings suggest a level of representation at which apparently complex words are decomposed on the basis of their morpho-orthographic properties. Implications of these findings for computational models of reading are discussed.

                Author and article information

                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                11 March 2015
                : 9
                : 111
                [1] 1Department of Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York Albany, NY, USA
                [2] 2Haskins Laboratories New Haven, CT, USA
                [3] 3Quantitative Linguistics Group of Harald Baayen, Eberhard Karls University Tbingen, Germany
                [4] 4Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad Novi Sad, Serbia
                [5] 5Department of Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA, USA
                Author notes

                Edited by: Mirjana Bozic, University of Cambridge, UK

                Reviewed by: Jens Bölte, Westfälische Wilhelms – Universität Münster, Germany; Elisabeth Beyersmann, Aix–Marseille University, France

                *Correspondence: Laurie B. Feldman, Department of Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York, SS 369, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222, USA e-mail: lfeldman@ 123456albany.edu
                Copyright © 2015 Feldman, Milin, Cho, Moscoso del Prado Martín and O’Connor.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 20 September 2014
                : 15 February 2015
                Page count
                Figures: 9, Tables: 6, Equations: 0, References: 86, Pages: 19, Words: 0
                Original Research

                reading proficiency,morphological processing,semantic transparency
                reading proficiency, morphological processing, semantic transparency


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