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Two experiments were conducted to examine cross-language priming from ignored stimuli in bilinguals. In Experiment 1, bilinguals categorized a focally attended number while ignoring flanking words during a prime trial and then made lexical decisions to probe letter strings. When probe words were semantic associates of previously ignored flanker words, cross-language negative priming occurred only when the ignored flankers were in the subject's first language (L1), and the probe target was in the second language (L2). Using translation equivalents rather than semantic associates, the second experiment found that cross-language negative priming occurred in both the L1-L2 and the L2-L1 conditions. However, there was still an asymmetry with more negative priming occurring in the L1-L2 condition. These results suggest that bilinguals access common conceptual representations across languages and support a revised hierarchical model of bilingual memory organization (Kroll & Stewart, 1994). © 1996 Academic Press, Inc.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Memory and Language

Publication Date





353 - 370