Is banara really a word?

Xiaomei Qiao, Kenneth Forster, Naoko Witzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Bowers, Davis, and Hanley (Bowers, J. S., Davis, C. J., & Hanley, D. A. (2005). Interfering neighbours: The impact of novel word learning on the identification of visually similar words. Cognition, 97(3), B45-B54) reported that if participants were trained to type nonwords such as banara, subsequent semantic categorization responses to similar words such as banana were delayed. This was taken as direct experimental support for a process of lexical competition during word recognition. This interpretation assumes that banara has been lexicalized, which predicts that masked form priming for items such as banara-banana should be reduced or eliminated. An experiment is reported showing that the trained novel words produced the same amount of priming as untrained nonwords on both the first and the second day of training, suggesting that the interference observed by Bowers et al was not due to word-on-word competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-257
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Competition
  • Lexical access
  • Lexical acquisition
  • Lexical decision
  • Masked priming
  • Visual word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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