Alternating-script priming in japanese: Are katakana and hiragana characters interchangeable?

Manuel Perea, Mariko Nakayama, Stephen J. Lupker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Models of written word recognition in languages using the Roman alphabet assume that a word's visual form is quickly mapped onto abstract units. This proposal is consistent with the finding that masked priming effects are of similar magnitude from lowercase, uppercase, and alternating-case primes (e.g., beard-BEARD, BEARD-BEARD, and BeArD-BEARD). We examined whether this claim can be readily generalized to the 2 syllabaries of Japanese Kana (Hiragana and Katakana). The specific rationale was that if the visual form of Kana words is lost early in the lexical access process, alternating-script repetition primes should be as effective as same-script repetition primes at activating a target word. Results showed that alternating-script repetition primes were less effective at activating lexical representations of Katakana words than same-script repetition primes-indeed, they were no more effective than partial primes that contained only the Katakana characters from the alternating-script primes. Thus, the idiosyncrasies of each writing system do appear to shape the pathways to lexical access.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1140-1146
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul


  • Abstract units
  • Lexical access
  • Masked priming


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