Developmental dissociation between visual and auditory repetition priming: The role of input lexicons

Giovanni A. Carlesimo, Stefano Vicari, Anna Albertoni, Patrizia Turriziani, Carlo Caltagirone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contrasting theories posit the source of verbal repetition priming in the activation of preexisting memory representations in the input lexicons or, alternatively, in the formation of new episodic memory traces. The two hypotheses predict different outcomes from the comparison of developmental rates of visual and auditory verbal repetition priming. The activation theory predicts a developmental dissociation between the early maturation of auditory priming and the later maturation of visuo-verbal priming, contingent upon the discrepant acquisition rates of the auditory and visual input lexicons. The episodic theory, instead, does not make such an assumption. We administered visual and auditory implicit Stem Completion to 40 reading beginners (first-graders), 40 third-graders and 20 fifth-graders. Consistent with previous reports, auditory priming was stable across different age groups. Visual priming and a measure of lexicality in reading, instead, showed a parallel developmental increase passing from reading beginners to third-graders and to fifth-graders. In the overall group, visual priming and the measure of lexicality in reading were significantly associated. These data describe a new developmental dissociation in the memory abilities of normal children and provide further support for the hypothesis that repetition priming for words reflects facilitated access to previously established memory representations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Developmental
  • Memory
  • Priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)


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