The notion of feedback activation from semantics to both orthography and phonology has recently been used to explain a number of semantic effects in visual word recognition, including polysemy effects (Hino & Lupker, 1996; Pexman & Lupker, 1999) and synonym effects (Pecher, 2001). In the present research, we tested an account based on feedback activation by investigating a new semantic variable: number of features (NOF). Words with high NOF (e.g., LION) should activate richer semantic representations than do words with low NOF (e.g., LIME). As a result, the feedback activation from semantics to orthographic and phonological representations should be greater for high-NOF words, which should produce superior lexical decision task (LDT) and naming task performance. The predicted facilitory NOF effects were observed in both LDT and naming.
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