Is Semantic Activation from Print Automatic? An Investigation Using the Psychological Refractory Period and Task Set Paradigms
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The view that various visual word recognition processes are automatic in the sense that they are ballistic, intention free, unconscious, and capacity free, dominates the reading literature. Though results from multiple studies contradict the automatic perspective, its prevalence continues to this day. The present experiments address the automaticity of semantic activation from print by exploring whether it is (a) capacity limited, (b) requires intention, and (c) whether it is subject to performance optimization. First, I examine standard and semantic Stroop effects in the context of two Psychological Refractory Period Paradigm (PRP) experiments to address the issue of whether semantic activation from print is capacity limited. Included in these experiments is an SOA Proportion manipulation that has been proposed to encourage a strategic adoption of either parallel or serial processing (Miller, Ulrich, & Rolke, 2009). The results of the PRP experiments support the conclusion that semantic activation is, contrary to the wide spread view in the literature, capacity limited, and provide evidence that performance optimization plays a role in this paradigm, despite it not interacting with Congruency. Next, the same Stroop and SOA Proportion manipulations were employed in the context of the Task Set Paradigm to determine whether semantic activation from print requires intention, and whether performance optimization plays a role in this context. The results differed from those obtained in the PRP experiments; SOA Proportion modulated the SOA x Congruency interaction. To determine what drives the different results obtained using the PRP and Task Set paradigms, the final three experiments utilized a combination of these two paradigms. Combined, the results of these 7 experiments suggest that (1) semantic activation is capacity limited, (2) semantic activation requires intention, (3) strategic processes play a role in semantic activation, and (4) the overt response to the tone drives the capacity limitations observed in the present PRP experiments.
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Darcy White (2017). Is Semantic Activation from Print Automatic? An Investigation Using the Psychological Refractory Period and Task Set Paradigms. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/12095