Number of pages
SourceThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68, 4, (2015), pp. 710-730
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC PL
The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; Psycholinguistics
Whereas it has long been assumed that most linguistic processes underlying language production happen automatically, accumulating evidence suggests that these processes do require some form of attention. Here we investigated the contribution of sustained attention: the ability to maintain alertness over time. In Experiment 1, participants' sustained attention ability was measured using auditory and visual continuous performance tasks. Subsequently, employing a dual-task procedure, participants described pictures using simple noun phrases and performed an arrow-discrimination task while their vocal and manual response times (RTs) and the durations of their gazes to the pictures were measured. Earlier research has demonstrated that gaze duration reflects language planning processes up to and including phonological encoding. The speakers' sustained attention ability correlated with the magnitude of the tail of the vocal RT distribution, reflecting the proportion of very slow responses, but not with individual differences in gaze duration. This suggests that sustained attention was most important after phonological encoding. Experiment 2 showed that the involvement of sustained attention was significantly stronger in a dual-task situation (picture naming and arrow discrimination) than in simple naming. Thus, individual differences in maintaining attention on the production processes become especially apparent when a simultaneous second task also requires attentional resources.
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- Faculty of Social Sciences 
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