Stress priming in picture naming: An SOA study

N.O. Schiller*, P. Fikkert, C.C. Levelt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study investigates whether or not the representation of lexical stress information can be primed during speech production. In four experiments, we attempted to prime the stress position of bisyllabic target nouns (picture names) having initial and final stress with auditory prime words having either the same or different stress as the target (e.g., WORtel-MOtor vs. koSTUUM-MOtor; capital letters indicate stressed syllables in prime-target pairs). Furthermore, half of the prime words were semantically related, the other half unrelated. Overall, picture names were not produced faster when the prime word had the same stress as the target than when the prime had different stress, i.e., there was no stress-priming effect in any experiment. This result would not be expected if stress were stored in the lexicon. However, targets with initial stress were responded to faster than final-stress targets. The reason for this effect was neither the quality of the pictures nor frequency of occurrence or voice-key characteristics. We hypothesize here that this stress effect is a genuine encoding effect, i.e., words with stress on the second syllable take longer to be encoded because their stress pattern is irregular with respect to the lexical distribution of bisyllabic stress patterns, even though it can be regular with respect to metrical stress rules in Dutch. The results of the experiments are discussed in the framework of models of phonological encoding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-240
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


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