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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2011 Jun;137(2):151-71. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.11.003. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Using the visual world paradigm to study language processing: a review and critical evaluation.

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Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behavior, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


We describe the key features of the visual world paradigm and review the main research areas where it has been used. In our discussion we highlight that the paradigm provides information about the way language users integrate linguistic information with information derived from the visual environment. Therefore the paradigm is well suited to study one of the key issues of current cognitive psychology, namely the interplay between linguistic and visual information processing. However, conclusions about linguistic processing (e.g., about activation, competition, and timing of access of linguistic representations) in the absence of relevant visual information must be drawn with caution.

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