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Cogn Psychol. 2015 Nov;82:57-73. doi: 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Sep 14.

Evidence accumulation as a model for lexical selection.

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LPC UMR 7290, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, France. Electronic address:
LPC UMR 7290, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, France; Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Electronic address:
LPC UMR 7290, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, France. Electronic address:


We propose and demonstrate evidence accumulation as a plausible theoretical and/or empirical model for the lexical selection process of lexical retrieval. A number of current psycholinguistic theories consider lexical selection as a process related to selecting a lexical target from a number of alternatives, which each have varying activations (or signal supports), that are largely resultant of an initial stimulus recognition. We thoroughly present a case for how such a process may be theoretically explained by the evidence accumulation paradigm, and we demonstrate how this paradigm can be directly related or combined with conventional psycholinguistic theory and their simulatory instantiations (generally, neural network models). Then with a demonstrative application on a large new real data set, we establish how the empirical evidence accumulation approach is able to provide parameter results that are informative to leading psycholinguistic theory, and that motivate future theoretical development.


Lexical retrieval; Neural network models; Psychometrics; Response time analysis; Sequential sampling; Shifted Wald

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