Word frequency effects at brief exposure durations: comment on Paap and Johansen (1994).
K. R. Paap and L. S. Johansen (1994) proposed that word frequency effects do not occur on a lexical decision task (LDT) when postmasked target exposure duration is sufficiently brief because such a task prevents verification--their hypothesized locus of the word frequency effect. In making this assertion, they proposed that the activation interpretation of A. R. Dobbs, A. Friedman, and J. Lloyd (1985) and of P. A. Allen, M. McNeal, and D. Kvak (1992) was flawed. However, evidence that Paap and Johansen's conclusions were wrong and that their experimental design contained flaws is provided here. In Experiment 1 of the present study, word frequency effects were evident on an LDT at the 75% accuracy level proposed by Paap and Johansen as being sufficiently low to prevent verification. In Experiment 2 the mental lexica of participants from the same population as that used for Experiment 1 contained very-low-frequency words. Thus, the present results are consistent with an activation locus.
Allen, PA; Smith, AF; Lien, MC; Weber, TA; Madden, DJ
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