Inhibitory priming effects in auditory word recognition: When the target's competitors conflict with the prime word

University of Bourgogne & C.N.R.S, Dijon, France.
Cognition (Impact Factor: 3.63). 08/2003; 88(3):B33-44. DOI: 10.1016/S0010-0277(03)00046-5
Source: PubMed


Several studies indicate that the number of similar sounding words that are activated during recognition is a powerful predictor of performance on auditory targets. Words with few competitors are processed more quickly and accurately than words with many competitors. In the present study, we examined the contribution of the competitor set size in determining the magnitude of the inhibitory priming effect. The data show that the priming effect is stronger when word targets have few competitors. This result supports the view of direct competition between lexical candidates.

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Available from: Sophie Dufour
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    • "Psycholinguistic research has demonstrated that neighborhood density influences speech perception, speech production, and written word perception, but the effect differs by task and modality. In spoken production neighborhood density is facilitatory (Vitevitch, 1997, 2002; Mirman et al., 2010 though recent studies have suggested a more complicated picture: Mirman and Graziano, 2013; Sadat et al., 2014) while in spoken perception neighborhood density is inhibitory (e.g., Goldinger et al., 1989; Dufour and Peereman, 2003). In visual word recognition neighborhood density is facilitatory (Andrews, 1992), except for high frequency words in which case neighborhood density is inhibitory (e.g., Grainger et al., 1989; Davis et al., 2009) 1 . "
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    • "For example, ERPs reflected facilitation when auditory prime words overlap in initial phonemes with auditory target words (e.g., sad—sack; Praamstra et al., 1994). This contrasts to the frequently obtained inhibition effect for initial overlap between primes and target words in behavioral paradigms (for reviews see Slowiaczek and Hamburger, 1992; Radeau et al., 1995; Dufour and Peereman, 2003). Similarly, the neuromagnetic M350 response, indicated facilitation for words with many phonological neighbors compared to words with fewer neighbors, even though behavioral results indicated exactly the opposite pattern (Pylkkänen et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple lexical representations overlapping with the input (cohort neighbors) are temporarily activated in the listener's mental lexicon when speech unfolds in time. Activation for cohort neighbors appears to rapidly decline as soon as there is mismatch with the input. However, it is a matter of debate whether or not they are completely excluded from further processing. We recorded behavioral data and event-related brain potentials (ERPs) in auditory-visual word onset priming during a lexical decision task. As primes we used the first two syllables of spoken German words. In a carrier word condition, the primes were extracted from spoken versions of the target words (ano-ANORAK "anorak"). In a cohort neighbor condition, the primes were taken from words that overlap with the target word up to the second nucleus (ana-taken from ANANAS "pineapple"). Relative to a control condition, where primes and targets were unrelated, lexical decision responses for cohort neighbors were delayed. This reveals that cohort neighbors are disfavored by the decision processes at the behavioral front end. In contrast, left-anterior ERPs reflected long-lasting facilitated processing of cohort neighbors. We interpret these results as evidence for extended parallel processing of cohort neighbors. That is, in parallel to the preparation and elicitation of delayed lexical decision responses to cohort neighbors, aspects of the processing system appear to keep track of those less efficient word candidates.
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    • "The interference effect cannot be attributed to a phonological level effect, since the activation of shared phonemes between prime and target words should only facilitate recognition at the phonological level. Further evidence that the interference effect implies activation of phonologically related words in word recognition comes from studies showing a correlation between the level of interference with target recognition and the number of competitor words that can be simultaneously active (i.e., neighbourhood size: Dufour, Frauenfelder, & Peereman, 2007; Dufour & Peereman, 2003). Interference with target recognition (i.e., better recognition of the target following unrelated than related primes), therefore, provides more convincing evidence that hearing a word leads to the activation of phonologically related words, and, by extension, that the phonological properties of words form an organisational basis for words in the mental lexicon. "
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