Signal detection comparisons of phonemic and phonetic priming: The flexible-bias problem

Stephen Goldinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The phonemic priming effect may reflect the hidden dynamics of spoken word perception and has thus been a key topic of recent research. This investigation compared phonemic and phonetic priming (cf. Goldinger, Luce, Pisoni, & Marcario, 1992), using signal detection methods. Although these methods were intended to provide separate indices of sensitivity and bias changes, the results were more complex. Instead, phonemic priming engendered a flexible, trial-specific strategy that affected hits and false alarms (and thereby altered sensitivity) but also created behavioral changes indicative of a bias. Together with previous research, the results suggest that phonemic priming data must be interpreted with caution, and they underscore the limitations of signal detection analyses in priming research (Norris, 1995). However, if a researcher can anticipate the likely form a bias will assume, signal detection methods can reveal priming effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-965
Number of pages14
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • General Psychology


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