Date of Graduation

5-2014

Level of Access

Restricted Access Thesis

Department or Program

Psychology

First Advisor

Louisa Slowiaczek

Abstract

Recent work investigating orthographic neighborhood density effects and emotion in visual word processing reported an inhibitory orthographic neighborhood priming effect of words with a negative emotional valence (Gobin & Mathey, 2010). The current study aimed to replicate and generalize these findings with regard to positively valenced and negatively valenced words. In a naming task with a priming-paradigm, subjects said aloud visually presented target words that were preceded by higher frequency orthographically related and unrelated primes that had either a positive, negative, and neutral emotional valence. Accuracy and response times for naming neutrally valenced target words were analyzed. While results were not significant, the data suggest that the emotional valence of orthographic neighbors, regardless of their polarity, facilitated response times. The discussion addresses the contradiction between the obtained results and Gobin and Mathey’s (2010) original study and concludes that both sets of findings complement existing evidence that support an interactive view of language processing.

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