Informations and abstract
Keywords: Masked Priming; Suffix Salience; Functional Consistency; Morphological Processing; Italian Suffixes.
A masked priming experiment was conducted in order to determine whether suffixes and morphological schemas play a role in the access and processing of Italian complex words like bases do and, more precisely, whether (i) the suffix salience and (ii) the consistency of the suffix series affect processing. To this end, three suffixes with different perceptual characteristics, i.e., "-tore", "-ico" and "-etto", and whose series present a different degree of functional consistency, were manipulated. The results indicate very clear base priming effects for "-tore" and "-ico" targets (e.g., "nostalgianostaligico"; "pescare-pescatore") but no effect for "-etto" targets. On the other hand, while the suffix priming condition did not reveal any effect for "-tore" and "-ico" (e.g., "sinfonico-nostaligico"; "traditore-pescatore") compared to the unrelated condition, "-etto" series yielded the longest reaction times (RTs). The distributional properties, together with the non-prototypical semantic and functional characteristics of "-etto", seem therefore to affect also the relation between the base and the suffixed word. We conclude that different nature of morphological entities might imply different priming effects and that suffixes might need more activation than bases to emerge.