Semantic priming effects in a lexical decision task: comparing third graders and college students in two different stimulus onset asynchronies.Span J Psychol. 2011 Nov; 14(2):589-99.SJ
Differences in the semantic priming effect comparing child and adult performance have been found by some studies. However, these differences are not well established, mostly because of the variety of methods used by researchers around the world. One of the main issues concerns the absence of semantic priming effects on children at stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) smaller than 300ms. The aim of this study was to compare the semantic priming effect between third graders and college students at two different SOAs: 250ms and 500ms. Participants performed lexical decisions to targets which were preceded by semantic related or unrelated primes. Semantic priming effects were found at both SOAs in the third graders' group and in college students. Despite the fact that there was no difference between groups in the magnitude of semantic priming effects when SOA was 250ms, at the 500ms SOA their magnitude was bigger in children, corroborating previous studies. Hypotheses which could explain the presence of semantic priming effects in children's performance when SOA was 250ms are discussed, as well as hypotheses for the larger magnitude of semantic priming effects in children when SOA was 500ms.