Homophonic and semantic priming of Japanese kanji words: A time course study
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In an examination of the time course of activation of phonological and semantic information in processing kanji script, two lexical decision experiments were conducted with native readers of Japanese. Kanji targets were preceded at short (85-msec) and long (150-msec) intervals by homophonic, semantically related, or unrelated primes presented in kanji (Experiment 1) or by hiragana transcriptions of the kanji primes (Experiment 2). When primes were in kanji, semantic relatedness facilitated kanji target recognition at both intervals but homophonic relatedness did not. When primes were in hiragana, kanji target recognition was facilitated by homophonic relatedness at both intervals and by semantic relatedness only at the longer interval. The absence of homophonic priming of kanji targets by kanji primes challenges the universal phonology principle’s claim that phonology is central to accessing meaning from print.