The age of acquisition (AoA) effect represents the processing advantage for developmentally earlier-acquired words. An initial norming study identified early and late AoA words having either a strong female-oriented (e.g., flute) or male-oriented (e.g., cigar) semantic bias. Forty-seven female and 45 male Scottish university students participated in a lexical decision task using 100 early and late AoA female- and male-oriented words. Reaction time data showed significant AoA effects for both females and males across both female- and male-oriented words, with faster responses to earlier than later acquired words. Females, however, took longer to respond to male-oriented words, particularly late AoA ones. Males demonstrated no effect of semantic gender. The pattern of effects is consistent with differential gender role socialization.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: May 23, 2009
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