Evidence for embedded word length effects in complex nonwords

Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(2), 235–245. https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2019.1659989


Recent evidence points to the important role of embedded word activations in visual word recognition. The present study asked how the reading system prioritises word identification when not just one, but two different words are embedded within the same position. This question was addressed by using a masked primed lexical decision task (Experiment 1) with target words embedded in nonword primes (tea or team in teamaction). Results revealed priming independently of the length, position, or morphological status of the embedded word. However, when primes were used as targets within a word naming task (Experiment 2), participants were more likely to name the longer than the shorter embedded word, independent of morphological status. Our results suggest that the reading system gives priority to longer embedded words, which we discuss in the context of recent theories of visual word recognition.

Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(2), 235–245