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Web-based language production experiments: Semantic interference assessment is robust for spoken and typed response modalities

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van Scherpenberg,  Cornelia
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Obrig,  Hellmuth
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Stark_2022.pdf
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Citation

Stark, K., van Scherpenberg, C., Obrig, H., & Abdel Rahman, R. (2022). Web-based language production experiments: Semantic interference assessment is robust for spoken and typed response modalities. Behavior Research Methods. doi:10.3758/s13428-021-01768-2.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-6449-4
Abstract
For experimental research on language production, temporal precision and high quality of the recorded audio files are imperative. These requirements are a considerable challenge if language production is to be investigated online. However, online research has huge potential in terms of efficiency, ecological validity and diversity of study populations in psycholinguistic and related research, also beyond the current situation. Here, we supply confirmatory evidence that language production can be investigated online and that reaction time (RT) distributions and error rates are similar in written naming responses (using the keyboard) and typical overt spoken responses. To assess semantic interference effects in both modalities, we performed two pre-registered experiments (n = 30 each) in online settings using the participants' web browsers. A cumulative semantic interference (CSI) paradigm was employed that required naming several exemplars of semantic categories within a seemingly unrelated sequence of objects. RT is expected to increase linearly for each additional exemplar of a category. In Experiment 1, CSI effects in naming times described in lab-based studies were replicated. In Experiment 2, the responses were typed on participants' computer keyboards, and the first correct key press was used for RT analysis. This novel response assessment yielded a qualitatively similar, very robust CSI effect. Besides technical ease of application, collecting typewritten responses and automatic data preprocessing substantially reduce the work load for language production research. Results of both experiments open new perspectives for research on RT effects in language experiments across a wide range of contexts. JavaScript- and R-based implementations for data collection and processing are available for download.