Activation of phonological competitors in visual search
SourceActa Psychologica, 143, 2, (2013), pp. 168-175
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC PL
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; Psycholinguistics
Recently, Meyer, Belke, Telling and Humphreys (2007) reported that competitor objects with homophonous names (e.g., boy) interfere with identifying a target object (e.g., buoy) in a visual search task, suggesting that an object name's phonology becomes automatically activated even in situations in which participants do not have the intention to speak. The present study explored the generality of this finding by testing a different phonological relation (rhyming object names, e.g., cat-hat) and by varying details of the experimental procedure. Experiment 1 followed the procedure by Meyer et al. Participants were familiarized with target and competitor objects and their names at the beginning of the experiment and the picture of the target object was presented prior to the search display on each trial. In Experiment 2, the picture of the target object presented prior to the search display was replaced by its name. In Experiment 3, participants were not familiarized with target and competitor objects and their names at the beginning of the experiment. A small interference effect from phonologically related competitors was obtained in Experiments 1 and 2 but not in Experiment 3, suggesting that the way the relevant objects are introduced to participants affects the chances of observing an effect from phonologically related competitors. Implications for the information flow in the conceptual-lexical system are discussed.
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