• Event-related potentials;
  • Masked priming;
  • Associative priming;
  • N400;
  • Relatedness proportion


The effect of relatedness proportion (the percentage of related words in a list) on associative priming was investigated in two masked priming experiments. In Experiment 1, subjects were randomly assigned to either a high (80%) or low (20%) relatedness proportion condition and performed a lexical decision task. Semantically related and unrelated primes were briefly flashed (50 ms) before the targets and were preceded by a mask that prevented their overt identification. In Experiment 2, subjects were tested in both relatedness proportion conditions in a categorization task; the N400, an electrophysiological index of lexical and semantic priming, was measured in trials that did not require a button press. Behavioral and electrophysiological priming effects were observed in both high and low relatedness proportion conditions. The observed priming effects were not modulated by relatedness proportion. The results are discussed in terms of current theories of associative priming.