Age of acquisition effects in recognition without identification tasks

J. C. Catling, C. Pymont, R. A. Johnston, M. M. Elsherif, R. Clark, E. Kendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The Age of Acquisition (AoA) effect results in early-acquired words being processed more quickly and accurately than later-acquired words. This effect is argued to result from a gradual development of semantic representations and a changing neural network throughout development (Chang, Y.-N., Monaghan, P., & Welbourne, S., 2019). Some forms of the Recognition Without Identification (RWI) effects have been observed at a perceptual level. The present study used the RWI paradigm to examine whether the AoA effect is located at the perceptual loci. A total of 174 participants were presented a list of pictures (Experiment 1) or words (Experiment 2) followed by a list of mixed early- and late-acquired picture or word fragments that participants had to identify; half of which corresponded to studied words and half of which to unstudied words. Irrespective of whether the item was identified, participants then rated the likelihood that the item appeared in the study phase. In both experiments, results showed that studied items were recognised more accurately than unstudied items, even when they could not be identified and late-acquired items were recognised more than early-acquired items, even when they were not identified. Finally, RWI interacted with the AoA effect only in pictorial stimuli, suggesting that the RWI and AoA effects are located at the perceptual level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-674
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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