The semantic blocking effect refers to the detrimental effect on
naming latencies (nonaphasic speakers; e.g., Damian, Vigliococco,
& Levelt, 2001) and accuracy (aphasic speakers) when targets are
blocked by semantic category, compared with mixed-category presentation. The effect is most reliable when blocked sets are repeated multiple times in succession (i.e., for multiple ‘‘cycles’’). Schnur, ... [Show full abstract] Brecher, Rossi, and Schwartz (2004) recently showed that anterior aphasics are particularly vulnerable to the semantic blocking effect, as indexed by error rate in blocked-cyclic naming. They argued
that the increased difficulty exhibited by their Broca’s group,
compared to a matched group of fluent aphasic speakers, Non-
Broca’s, is consistent with the theory that the left inferior frontal
lobe subserves selection during high competition (Thompson-Schill,
et al., 1998).
Less well understood is the effect of phonological blocking. For
nonaphasic speakers, naming sets of phonologically related words
generally facilitates latencies (e.g., Damian, 2003), but sometimes it has the opposite effect (O’Seaghdha & Marin, 2000). Phonemic cueing
paradigms used with aphasic patients have also produced mixed results, with some patients responding favourably, whereas others do not (Croot, Patterson, & Hodges, 1999). The present study investigated
phonological blocking in aphasic and nonaphasic speakers, using the
blocked-cyclic naming paradigm.