Reading words in discourse: The modulation of lexical priming effects by message-level context

Kerry Ledoux, C. Christine Camblin, Tamara Y. Swaab, Peter C. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Repetition and semantic-associative priming effects have been demonstrated for words in nonstructured contexts (i.e., word pairs or lists of words) in numerous behavioral and electrophysiological studies. The processing of a word has thus been shown to benefit from the prior presentation, of an identical, or associated word in the absence of a constraining context. An examination of such priming effects for words that are embedded within a meaningful discourse context provides information about the interaction of different levels of linguistic analysis. This article reviews behavioral and electrophysiological research that has examined the processing of repeated and associated words in sentence and discourse contexts. It provides examples of the ways in which eye tracking and event-related potentials might be used to further explore priming effects in discourse. The modulation of lexical priming effects by discourse factors suggests the interaction of information at different levels in online language comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-127
Number of pages21
JournalBehavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Discourse
  • ERPs
  • Eye movement
  • Reading
  • Words

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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