Derived stimulus relations produce mediated and episodic priming
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If derived stimulus relations can serve as a beginning behavioral model of semantic meaning, many of the cognitive findings shown with semantic relations should apply to derived stimulus relations. The present study examined whether priming in a lexical decision task occurs in equivalence relations. In the primary experiment, subjects were trained to form three 3-member equivalence classes of “word-like” nonsense words. Subjects were then given a battery of lexical recognition tasks that included previously trained equivalence class members. The priming effect for stimuli in an equivalence class, whether stimulus relations were directly trained or derived, was as strong as that previously reported for associated words. Control conditions show that these effects were due to derived stimulus relations, not to alternative sources of control. Priming through equivalence classes provides one of the more robust instances of what in the cognitive literature are termed “episodic priming” and “mediated priming.” These results provide some additional support for the idea that derived stimulus relations are a useful preliminary behavioral model of semantic relations, and that they supply a useful procedure for research on priming more generally.