Masked repetition priming using magnetoencephalography

Philip J. Monahan, Robert Fiorentino, David Poeppel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Masked priming is used in psycholinguistic studies to assess questions about lexical access and representation. We present two masked priming experiments using MEG. If the MEG signal elicited by words reflects specific aspects of lexical retrieval, then one expects to identify specific neural correlates of retrieval that are sensitive to priming. To date, the electrophysiological evidence has been equivocal. We report findings from two experiments. Both employed identity priming, where the prime and target are the same lexical item but differ in case (NEWS-news). The first experiment used only forward masking, while the prime in the second experiment was both preceded and followed by a mask (backward masking). In both studies, we find a significant behavioral effect of priming. Using MEG, we identified a component peaking approximately 225 ms post-onset of the target, whose latency was sensitive to repetition. These findings support the notion that properties of the MEG response index specific lexical processes and demonstrate that masked priming can be effectively combined with MEG to investigate the nature of lexical processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Backward masking
  • Identity priming
  • Immediate repetition priming
  • MEG
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Masked priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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