Effects of affective ratings and individual differences in English morphological processing

AbstractThe nature of morphological processing has remained a controversial topic in psycholinguistic research. Some studies (e.g., Rastle, Davis, & New, 2004) have argued that when we read words like corner and talker, we automatically decompose them into existing morphemes like talk, corn, and -er, regardless of whether it is semantically plausible (e.g.,talker) or not (e.g., corner). Recent studies, however, have challenged this view, by showing early semantic effects of the whole complex word (Järvikivi & Pyykkönen, 2011; Lõo & Järvikivi, 2019; Milin, Feldman, Ramscar, Hendrix, & Baayen, 2017). Using a masked priming paradigm, the present study only found effects of morphological decomposition for true morphological relations (e.g., talker), as well as effects of frequency and affective properties of whole words, further challenging automatic decomposition accounts. Finally, we also report that individual differences, such as participants’ self-reported scholarly reading and openness to new experience, affect processing.

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