Morphological processing of printed nouns and verbs: Cross-class priming effects


Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 26, 433-460


March, 2014


Crepaldi, D., Morone, E.A., Arduino, L.S., and Luzzatti, C.

Despite grammatical class being a fundamental organising principle of the human mental lexicon, recent morphological models of visual word identification remain silent as to whether and how it is represented in the lexical system. The present study addresses this issue by investigating cross-class morphological priming (i.e., the effect obtained when nouns prime verbs sharing the same root or vice versa) to clarify whether morphological stems subserving the formation of both nouns and verbs (e.g., depart-) have a unique, grammatical class–independent representation. Experiments 1 and 2 suggest this to be the case, as they show that morphological priming crosses grammatical class boundaries in overt paradigm conditions. Experiment 3 shows that, in masked priming conditions, cross-class facilitation emerges both for genuine derivations and pseudo-related pairs with a homographic stem (e.g., port-e, doors, and port-are, to carry), which is taken to suggest that grammatical class–free stem representations are located at a pre-lexical level of morphological processing.