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Reconciling phonological neighborhood effects in speech production through single trial analysis
Sadat Schaffai, Jasmin, 1982-; Martin, Clara D.; Costa Martínez, Albert, 1970-; Alario, F.-Xavier (François -Xavier),
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
A crucial step for understanding how lexical knowledge is represented is to describe the relative similarity of lexical items, and how it influences language processing. Previous studies of the effects of form similarity on word production have reported conflicting results, notably within and across languages. The aim of the present study was to clarify this empirical issue to provide specific constraints for theoretical models of language production. We investigated the role of phonological neighborhood density in a large-scale picture naming experiment using fine-grained statistical models. The results showed that increasing phonological neighborhood density has a detrimental effect on naming latencies, and re-analyses of independently obtained data sets provide supplementary evidence for this effect. Finally, we reviewed a large body of evidence concerning phonological neighborhood density effects in word production, and discussed the occurrence of facilitatory and inhibitory effects in accuracy measures. The overall pattern shows that phonological neighborhood generates two opposite forces, one facilitatory and one inhibitory. In cases where speech production is disrupted (e.g. certain aphasic symptoms), the facilitatory component may emerge, but inhibitory processes dominate in efficient naming by healthy speakers. These findings are difficult to accommodate in terms of monitoring processes, but can be explained within interactive activation accounts combining phonological facilitation and lexical competition.
This research was supported by a grant from the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013 Grant agreement n◦ 263575), three grants from the Spanish government (PSI2008-01191, PSI2011-23033, Consolider Ingenio 2010 CSD2007-00012), and the Catalan government (Consolidado SGR 2009-1521).
Tractament del llenguatge natural (Informàtica)
Gramàtica comparada i general -- Fonologia
Speech production
Phonological similarity
Neighborhood density
Lexical access
Mental lexicon
© Elsevier
Accepted Version (Postprint)

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