New Preprint: Word-Meaning Priming from Short Narratives

Lena Blott and Jennifer Rodd have published a new preprint together with undergraduate researcher Oliver Hartopp and Professor Kate Nation from the University of Oxford.

The preprint can be accessed here.

Previous work from the Word Lab has demonstrated that we can prime people such that relatively infrequent meanings of ambiguous words (e.g. the “animal enclosure” meaning of “pen”) become temporarily more readily available. This has been termed “word-meaning priming” (see e.g. Betts et al., 2018; Gilbert et al., 2018; Rodd et al., 2013; Rodd et al., 2016).

For the present experiment, we designed our priming stimuli to be short narratives in which cues to disambiguation were relatively weak, and distant from the ambiguous word itself. We replicated the previously observed word-meaning priming effect with these stimuli, which are, arguably, more naturalistic than the types of sentences typically used in psycholinguistics studies. We hope that this experiment can be a step towards using more naturalistic and varied forms of disambiguation to study how comprehenders can flexibly update their lexical knowledge to aid comprehension.

The study was preregistered. Data and code are available here.

New Paper: Dominance Norms for Spoken Ambiguous Words in British English

Becky Gilbert and Jenni Rodd have published set of dominance norms for ambiguous words in the Journal of Cognition. These were produced by collating data from across a number of different experiments to construct a dataset of 29,542 data points for 243 spoken ambiguous words from UK participants.

This includes resources to help other researchers code word-association responses to ambiguous words in a semi-automated manner, saving researcher time and improving coding consistency. We hope that researchers will add their own data to this database further improving the precision of our dominance estimates.

Gilbert, R. A., & Rodd, J. M. (2022). Dominance Norms and Data for Spoken Ambiguous Words in British English. Journal of Cognition, 5(1): 4, pp. 1–14. DOI: