Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Word meaning and the control of eye fixation: Semantic competitor effects and the visual world paradigm


Huettig,  Falk
Language Comprehension Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Other Research, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)

(Publisher version), 200KB

Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Huettig, F., & Altmann, G. T. M. (2005). Word meaning and the control of eye fixation: Semantic competitor effects and the visual world paradigm. Cognition, 96(1), B23-B32. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2004.10.003.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-15FE-C
When participants are presented simultaneously with spoken language and a visual display depicting objects to which that language refers, participants spontaneously fixate the visual referents of the words being heard [Cooper, R. M. (1974). The control of eye fixation by the meaning of spoken language: A new methodology for the real-time investigation of speech perception, memory, and language processing. Cognitive Psychology, 6(1), 84–107; Tanenhaus, M. K., Spivey-Knowlton, M. J., Eberhard, K. M., & Sedivy, J. C. (1995). Integration of visual and linguistic information in spoken language comprehension. Science, 268(5217), 1632–1634]. We demonstrate here that such spontaneous fixation can be driven by partial semantic overlap between a word and a visual object. Participants heard the word ‘piano’ when (a) a piano was depicted amongst unrelated distractors; (b) a trumpet was depicted amongst those same distractors; and (c), both the piano and trumpet were depicted. The probability of fixating the piano and the trumpet in the first two conditions rose as the word ‘piano’ unfolded. In the final condition, only fixations to the piano rose, although the trumpet was fixated more than the distractors. We conclude that eye movements are driven by the degree of match, along various dimensions that go beyond simple visual form, between a word and the mental representations of objects in the concurrent visual field.