Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Keith Horton

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Four groups of participants were tested in order to assess Blaxton and Neely’s (1983) suggestion that the nature of the processing (reading or generating) carried out on the primes and targets determines the degree of priming (facilitation or inhibition). Reading and generating were directly manipulated by the inclusion of a semantic adequacy check (Donaldson & Bass, 1980) designed to augment the “automatic” process of reading, and a speeded generation task designed to limit this check, thus equating generating to reading. Associate items were included to assess Lupker’s (1984) suggestion that the association between primes and targets (not their semantic relatedness) determines the facilitatory effects in “pre-access” processes such as reading, while semantic relatedness is instrumental in the priming effects of “post-access” processes such as generating. While Blaxton and Neely’s (1983) finding of inhibition from four semantic primes was replicated in the generate-generate group, the facilitatory effect of one semantic prime was not reliable. The read-recheck-generate group which was conceptually equivalent demonstrated neither facilitatory nor inhibitory effects of semantic primes, supporting Brown’s (1981) conclusion that self-generation of related exemplars is necessary for inhibition to occur. There was however, no evidence of a facilitatory effect of reading semantic primes. The read-read and speeded-generate-read groups had no significant facilitation effects. The results of the recognition test, which served as a manipulation check, revealed that the two generate groups had superior retention to the two read groups, as predicted. Contrary to predictions, associate items produced inhibition in the generate-generate group, and no facilitating effects in the read-read group. These results were interpreted in terms of procedural and item selection factors.

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Convocation Season