How word frequency modulates masked repetition priming: An ERP investigation


  • Grainger Jonathan
  • Lopez Danielle
  • Eddy Marianna
  • Dufau Stéphane
  • Holcomb Phillip J.

document type



The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to provide precise temporal information about the modulation of masked repetition priming effects x word frequency during the course of target word recognition. Contrary to the pattern seen with behavioral response times in prior research, we predicted that high-frequency words should generate larger and earlier peaking repetition priming effects than low-frequency words in the N400 time window. This prediction was supported by the results of two experiments. Furthermore, repetition priming effects in the N250 time window were found for low-frequency words in both experiments, whereas for high-frequency words these effects were seen only at the shorter (50?ms stimulus onset asynchrony [SOA]) used in Experiment 2, and not in Experiment 1 (70?ms SOA). We explain this pattern as resulting from reset mechanisms operating on the form representations activated by prime stimuli when primes and targets are processed as separate perceptual events.

more information