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Primacy of functional knowledge in semantic representations: The case of living and nonliving things

Phelps, FG and Macken, WJ and Barry, C and Miles, C (2006) 'Primacy of functional knowledge in semantic representations: The case of living and nonliving things.' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59 (11). 1984 - 2009. ISSN 1747-0218

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Abstract

In 3 experiments, participants decided whether sensory and functional features were true of living and nonliving concepts. In Experiments 1 and 2, concepts were presented twice: test phase followed study phase after either 3 min (Experiment 1) or 3 s (Experiment 2). At test, concepts were paired with the same feature as that at study, or a different feature from either the same modality (within-modality priming) or another modality (cross-modality priming). In both experiments functional decisions were faster than sensory decisions for living and nonliving concepts. Whilst no semantic priming occurred between study and test in Experiment 1, the shorter study-test interval of Experiment 2 did lead to test phase semantic priming. Here there was greater within- than cross-modality priming for sensory decisions, but equivalent within- and cross-modality priming for functional decisions owing to significantly greater facilitation of functional decisions from prior sensory decisions than vice versa. Experiment 3 involved a single verification phase: For half the participants the feature name preceded the concept name, and for half the concept name preceded the feature name. The functional processing advantage persisted irrespective of presentation order. Results suggest that functional information is central to the representation of all concepts: Function is processed faster than sensory information and is activated obligatorily. © 2006 The Experimental Psychology Society.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2015 21:42
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 16:21
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/12392

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