Resolving competition when naming an object in a multiple-object display
SourcePsychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 1, (2014), pp. 78-84
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC PL
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; Psycholinguistics
Naming an object in the context of other objects requires the selection and processing of the target object at different levels, while the processing of competing representations activated by context objects has to be constrained. At what stage are these competing representations attenuated? To address this question, we presented pairs of target and context objects that were either similar in visual shape (e.g., umbrella-palm tree) or dissimilar in visual shape (e.g., umbrella-ladder), so that the context object would attract various amounts of attention. The activation of the context object at different levels of processing was assessed by means of auditory distractors (semantically related, or phonologically related, or unrelated to the context object). Semantic and phonological distractor effects were observed for shape-related object pairs, but not for unrelated object pairs. This finding suggests that context objects do not activate their associated lexical representations to any substantial amount, unless they capture attention. In that case, they undergo full lexical processing up to a phonological level. Implications for models of word production are discussed.
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