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Can context aid lexical selection?


Shao,  Zeshu
Psychology of Language Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Shao, Z., & Rommers, J. (2015). Can context aid lexical selection?. Talk presented at the XII International Symposium of Psycholinguistics. Valencia. 2015-07-01 - 2015-07-04.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0027-D746-4
Difficulties in saying the right word at the right time arise at least in part because multiple response candidates are simultaneously activated in the speaker’s mind. This has been simulated using the picture-word interference task. However, words are usually produced in context, in the service of achieving a communicative goal. We embedded the picture-word interference task in a dialogue setting, where participants heard a question and named a picture as an answer to the question (ignoring a superimposed distractor word). The question was either closely or loosely semantically related to the target. Results of mixed-effect modeling showed that naming latencies were shorter when preceded by a closely related question (context effect), t = 8.08 and when accompanied by an unrelated distractor (interference effect), t = 3.12. More importantly, interference effect was reduced after related questions, t = 2.00. This suggests that broader context can help overcome lexical selection difficulty.