Morphological activation in sentence context: When the root prevails over the meaning

Anat Prior, Eilat Markus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two experiments explore the extent of morphological root-based spreading activation in adult skilled readers of Hebrew.Participants performed semantic judgements on sentences in Hebrew, half of which included sentence-final incongruenttargets. Critical targets were morphologically related but semantically unrelated to an expected but non-presented congruentsentence completion, and control items had no such morphological relation. Participants were slower and more error-pronein correctly rejecting critical targets than controls, due to the morphological relation with the congruent completion. Theseresults demonstrate that prediction-based lexical activation in the absence of form exposure can support morphologicallybased spreading activation in Hebrew. Furthermore, semantic constraints do not completely eliminate activation ofmorphologically related but semantically incongruous lexical candidates, similar to patterns found for ambiguous lexicalitems in other languages. Taken together, these results support and extend the central role of the morphological root inshaping lexical organisation and dynamics of lexical access in Hebrew.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1180-1188
Number of pages9
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014


  • Ambiguity
  • Context
  • Morphology
  • Semantic

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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