Revisiting effects of contextual strength on the subordinate bias effect: Evidence from eye movements

Jorie Colbert-Getz, Anne E. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In this study, we examined two issues regarding the role of context in ambiguity resolution: whether access to the contextually appropriate meaning is exhaustive or selective, and whether the contextually inappropriate meaning is inhibited. Participants read texts in which a biased ambiguous word was encountered twice while their eye movements were measured. The context preceding the first encounter varied in the extent to which the subordinate meaning was supported; the context preceding the second encounter always supported the dominant meaning. The findings suggest that lexical access is exhaustive but can be influenced by context, and that the subsequent accessibility of the contextually inappropriate meaning is unaffected by previous selection processes. The results were interpreted in terms of the assumptions of the reordered-access model and activation mechanisms that operate during reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1184
Number of pages13
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Lexical ambiguity
  • Reading
  • Subordinate-bias effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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