Modulation of associative priming effects by age and perceptual ability: Empirical findings and a computational model

David C. Plaut and James R. Booth

Department of Psychology
Carnegie Mellon University


College and elementary students were grouped by perceptual ability based on a pattern-matching pretest. In a lexical decision task, only high-perceptual students showed the typical finding of greater priming for low- versus high-frequency words; the other students showed weaker priming that did not interact with frequency. The results are modeled by a distributed connectionist network that encodes associative relatedness by word transition probabilities, perceptual ability by orthographic input strength, and age by amount of training.