Is there room for the BBC in the mental lexicon? On the recognition of acronyms
Faculty of Applied Economics
The quarterly journal of experimental psychology. - London
, p. 1832-1842
t has been suggested that acronyms like BBC are processed like real words. This claim has been based on improved performance with acronyms in the Reicher-Wheeler task, the letter string matching task, the visual feature integration task, and the N400 component in event-related potential (ERP) studies. Unfortunately, in all these tasks performance on acronyms resembled performance on pseudowords more than performance on words. To further assess the similarity of acronyms and words, we focused on the meaning of the acronyms and used masked priming to examine whether target words can be primed to the same extent with associatively related acronyms as with associatively related words. Such priming was possible at a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of 84 ms. In addition, the priming of the acronyms did not depend on the letter case in which they were presented: The target word books was primed as much by isbn and iSbN as by ISBN.