After braking comes hasting: reversed effects of indirect associations in 2nd and 4th graders


The Associative Read-Out Model (AROM) suggests that associations between words can be defined by the log likelihood that they occur together more often in sentences than predicted by their single-word frequency. Moreover, semantic relations can be defined by associative spreading across many common associates. Here, we addressed developmental effects of associative and semantic priming. Thus, we manipulated sentence-co-occurrence-based direct (syntagmatic) and common (paradigmatic) associations between prime and target words in 2nd and 4th graders. Syntagmatic associations decreased response times and error rates in both, 2nd and 4th graders. Paradigmatic associations increased errors rates in 2nd graders, whereas they decreased errors rates in 4th graders. These results suggest that 2nd graders profit from syntagmatic, i.e. contiguity-based associations, while a benefit from paradigmatic-semantic relationship probably develops from generalizing across many of these simple associations.

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