Validity of Eye Movement Methods and Indices for Capturing Semantic (Associative) Priming Effects Purpose The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the usefulness of eye movement methods and indices as a tool for studying priming effects by verifying whether eye movement indices capture semantic (associative) priming effects in a visual cross-format (written word to semantically related picture) priming paradigm. Method ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2009
Validity of Eye Movement Methods and Indices for Capturing Semantic (Associative) Priming Effects
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anshula Odekar
    Ohio University, Athens
  • Brooke Hallowell
    Ohio University, Athens
  • Hans Kruse
    Ohio University, Athens
  • Danny Moates
    Ohio University, Athens
  • Chao-Yang Lee
    Ohio University, Athens
  • Contact author: Anshula Odekar, who is now at 950 - 2nd Street, #107, Santa Monica, CA 90403. E-mail: odekarini@hotmail.com.
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2009
Validity of Eye Movement Methods and Indices for Capturing Semantic (Associative) Priming Effects
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2009, Vol. 52, 31-48. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0100)
History: Received May 10, 2007 , Revised November 2, 2007 , Accepted May 27, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2009, Vol. 52, 31-48. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0100)
History: Received May 10, 2007; Revised November 2, 2007; Accepted May 27, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 15

Purpose The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the usefulness of eye movement methods and indices as a tool for studying priming effects by verifying whether eye movement indices capture semantic (associative) priming effects in a visual cross-format (written word to semantically related picture) priming paradigm.

Method In the stimuli development phase, words semantically associated to an array of pictures were generated based on 100 adults' association data for each picture. A total of 40 additional adult participants with normal language engaged in an eye movement experiment using the word–picture associations developed previously. The design consisted of each prime preceding a display showing 1 high-association (target) and 2 low-association (nontarget) images. Fixation durations, locations, and latencies were measured.

Results Images semantically related to the prime showed greater fixation durations and shorter latencies compared to nontargets. Eye movement and traditional reaction time measures were found to correlate for some of the experimental conditions.

Conclusions Results showed that free-viewing eye movement measures, in which participants are not instructed to look at anything in particular, hold promise as valid indicators of priming effects. Further research in this area will help to advance language-processing theories in individuals with and without language impairment.

Acknowledgment
This study has been supported in part by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation Graduate Student Scholarship and a doctoral fellowship from the School of Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences. We thank Andrea Blevins, Sarah Kiefer, Sabine Heuer, and Maria Ivanova of the Ohio University Neurolinguistics Laboratory for help with data collection and data transformation and James Montgomery for guidance regarding experimental design.
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