The selection of homograph meaning: word association when context changes.

Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Arlington 76019-0528, USA.
Memory & Cognition (Impact Factor: 1.92). 08/2000; 28(5):766-73. DOI: 10.3758/BF03198411
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In a study of lexical ambiguity processing, responses to homographs were examined in a word association task. The context of repeated exposures of a homograph was manipulated by requiring a response to a word related to a meaning of the homograph on the trial prior to homograph presentation. A change of that relationship reduced the effectiveness of the contextual item as a prime on the second occurrence of the homograph. In response to a third unprimed occurrence of the homograph, associations were consistent with a conclusion that when semantic contexts are opposed, a "primacy effect" is obtained. The overall effects in the studies reported are seen as consistent with the theoretical view of Simpson and Kang (1994) that processing and responding to one meaning of a homograph result in the inhibition of alternative meanings. A mechanism to account for that inhibition is proposed.

1 Bookmark
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: First, three case studies are presented of psychotic patients having in common an inability to hold something down or out. In line with other theories on psychosis, we propose that a key change is at the efference copy system. Going back to Freud's mental apparatus, we propose that the messages of discharge of the motor neurons, mobilized to direct perception, also called "indications of reality," are equivalent to the modern efference copies. With this key, the reading of the cases is coherent with the psychodynamic understanding of psychosis, being a downplay of secondary processes, and consequently, a dominance of primary processes. Moreover, putting together the sensorimotor idea of a failure of efference copy-mediated inhibition with the psychoanalytic idea of a failing repression in psychosis, the hypothesis emerges that the attenuation enabled by the efference copy dynamics is, in some instances, the physiological instantiation of repression. Second, we applied this idea to the mental organization in neurosis. Indeed, the efference copy-mediated attenuation is thought to be the mechanism through which sustained activation of an intention, without reaching it - i.e., inhibition of an action - gives rise to mental imagery. Therefore, as inhibition is needed for any targeted action or for normal language understanding, acting in the world, or processing language, structurally induces mental imagery, constituting a subjective unconscious mental reality. Repression is a special instance of inhibition for emotionally threatening stimuli. These stimuli require stronger inhibition, leaving (the attenuation of) the motor intentions totally unanswered, in order to radically prevent execution which would lead to development of excess affect. This inhibition, then, yields a specific type of motor imagery, called "phantoms," which induce mental preoccupation, as well as symptoms which, especially through their form, refer to the repressed motor fragments.
    Frontiers in Psychology 01/2012; 3:452. · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite previous findings, Klin, Ralano, and Weingartner (2007) found transfer benefits across unrelated passages. After processing an ambiguous phrase in Story A that was biased toward its sarcastic meaning, readers were more likely to interpret the identical phrase in Story B as sarcastic, even though it contained no disambiguating information. In the present experiments, we found both repetition effects (a benefit for the lexical items) and meaning selection effects (a benefit for the selected meaning of the phrase) with short delays between Stories A and B; with longer delays, only repetition effects were found. Whereas decreasing the elaboration of the phrase eliminated both effects, moving the disambiguating context from before to after the phrase eliminated meaning selection effects only. We conclude that meaning selection effects, which are based on conceptual overlap, are more sensitive to context changes and less robust than repetition effects, which are based on both perceptual and conceptual overlap.
    Memory & Cognition 08/2009; 37(5):556-68. · 1.92 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous neuroimaging studies showed that correct resolution of lexical ambiguity relies on the integrity of prefrontal and inferior parietal cortices. Whereas prefrontal brain areas were associated with executive control over semantic selection, inferior parietal areas were linked with access to modality-independent representations of semantic memory. Yet insufficiently understood is the contribution of subcortical structures in ambiguity processing. Patients with disturbed basal ganglia function such as Parkinson's disease (PD) showed development of discourse comprehension deficits evoked by lexical ambiguity. To further investigate the engagement of cortico-subcortical networks functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) was monitored during ambiguity resolution in eight early PD patients without dementia and fourteen age- and education-matched controls. Participants were required to relate meanings to a lexically ambiguous target (homonym). Each stimulus consisted of two words arranged on top of a screen, which had to be attributed to a homonym at the bottom. Brain activity was found in bilateral inferior parietal (BA 39), right middle temporal (BA 21/22), left middle frontal (BA 10) and bilateral inferior frontal areas (BA 45/46). Extent and amplitude of activity in the angular gyrus changed depending on semantic association strength that varied between conditions. Less activity in the left caudate was associated with semantic integration deficits in PD. The results of the present study suggest a relationship between subtle language deficits and early stages of basal ganglia dysfunction. Uncovering impairments in ambiguity resolution may be of future use in the neuropsychological assessment of non-motor deficits in PD.
    Brain research. 06/2014;