Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition vol:35 issue:6 pages:1552-1556
Previous research has shown that time to name single-digit Arabic numbers is about 15 ms slower when naming trials are interleaved with simple multiplication (e.g., state product of 2 x 3) than when naming digits is interleaved with magnitude comparison (e.g., state larger; 2 up arrow 3). To explain this phenomenon, J. I. D. Campbell and A. W. S. Metcalfe (2008) proposed that the comparison context enables both semantic and asemantic pathways for digit naming but that number-fact retrieval inhibits the semantic route and slows digit naming relative to the comparison context. To test this hypothesis, the authors modified the naming context paradigm by introducing a semantic priming manipulation. They replicated the digit-naming response time advantage for comparison relative to the multiplication context and observed semantic priming only in the comparison context. In comparison blocks, digit naming was 8 ms faster immediately after naming near digit primes (+/- 1) compared to far primes (>= 3), but in multiplication blocks there was no priming. The results reinforce the theory that number-fact retrieval can inhibit the semantic route for digit naming (L. Cohen & S. Dehaene, 1995) and thereby reconfigure the cognitive architecture for naming digits.