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Seeing the harm in harmed and harmful: Morphological processing by children in Grades 4, 6, and 8

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 August 2010

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
Queen's University at Kingston
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE S. Hélène Deacon, Department of Psychology, Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4J1, Canada. E-mail:


This study examined morphological processing of inflected and derived words by children in Grades 4, 6, and 8. Participants were shown root forms and inflected, derived, and orthographic control items (e.g., harm, harmed, harmful, or harmony), followed by a fragment completion task (e.g., completing h a_ _). Participants were equally likely to complete the fragment with the target root (e.g., harm for h a_ _) following priming with inflected or derived forms. This reflected a morphological effect; priming scores were higher for the inflected and derived forms than for orthographic counterparts. These effects were consistent across the grades studied, suggesting that morphological processing of inflected and derived words has a similar time course across Grades 4, 6, and 8.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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