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Mem Cognit. 2005 Sep;33(6):984-1000.

Semantic competition between hierarchically related words during speech planning.

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University of Leipzig, Germany.


There is overwhelming evidence that during speech planning semantically related words become lexically activated and compete for selection with the to-be-produced target word. The vast majority of this evidence stems from studies using the picture-word task, in which a distractor word (e.g., bird) drawn from the same semantic category as the target (e.g., fish) was shown to inhibit the picture-naming response more strongly than did an unrelated distractor word. By contrast, corresponding evidence from distractor words (e.g., carp) bearing a hierarchical relation to the target (e.g., fish) is sparse and inconclusive. In the present study, we investigated effects of subordinate-level distractors during basic-level naming and effects of basic-level distractors during subordinate-level naming. Hierarchically related distractors were found to inhibit the naming response in both situations. This pattern of results did not depend on whether the pictures were preferably named at the basic level or at the subordinate level. The results suggest that hierarchically related name alternatives compete for selection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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