Do the Beginnings of Spoken Words Have a Special Status in Auditory Word Recognition?

Cynthia M. Connine, Dawn G. Blasko, Debra Titone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


Six cross-modal priming experiments were conducted that investigated whether representations of spoken words in memory (base word) may be activated by similar-sounding nonwords. The experiments demonstrated that nonwords that differed in one or two linguistic features from a base word resulted in significant priming effects for semantic associates to the base word. Nonwords that deviated by more linguistic features from a base word showed no priming effects. Finally, nonwords in which either the medial or initial portions were altered showed comparable priming effects. This result held for a set of two-syllable words and for a group of longer words (at least three syllables). A model of auditory word recognition is discussed in which partial acoustic-phonetic information in a spoken word is mapped onto a lexical representation in memory based on goodness-of-fit. It is argued that this mapping process affords no particular status to word-initial phonemes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-210
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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