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Behav Res Methods. 2010 May;42(2):470-3. doi: 10.3758/BRM.42.2.470.

British English norms for the spontaneous completion of three-letter word stems.

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  • 1University of Manchester, Manchester, England.


Word stem completion tasks involve showing participants a number of words and then later asking them to complete word stems to make a full word. If the stem is completed with one of the studied words, it indicates memory. It is a test widely used to assess both implicit and explicit forms of memory. An important aspect of stimulus selection is that target words should not frequently be generated spontaneously from the word stem, to ensure that production of the word really represents memory. In this article, we present a database of spontaneous stem completion rates for 395 stems from a group of 80 British undergraduate psychology students. It includes information on other characteristics of the words (word frequency, concreteness, imageability, age of acquisition, common part of speech, and number of letters) and, as such, can be used to select suitable words to include in a stem completion task. Supplemental materials for this article may be downloaded from

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