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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2003 Jun;132(2):202-27.

The time course of spoken word learning and recognition: studies with artificial lexicons.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA. magnuson@psych.columbia.edu


The time course of spoken word recognition depends largely on the frequencies of a word and its competitors, or neighbors (similar-sounding words). However, variability in natural lexicons makes systematic analysis of frequency and neighbor similarity difficult. Artificial lexicons were used to achieve precise control over word frequency and phonological similarity. Eye tracking provided time course measures of lexical activation and competition (during spoken instructions to perform visually guided tasks) both during and after word learning, as a function of word frequency, neighbor type, and neighbor frequency. Apparent shifts from holistic to incremental competitor effects were observed in adults and neural network simulations, suggesting such shifts reflect general properties of learning rather than changes in the nature of lexical representations.

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