Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Repetition Deficits, List Context, and Word-Class Interactions in the RSVP of Words in Sentences

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Repetition Deficits, List Context, and Word-Class Interactions in the RSVP of Words in Sentences

Article excerpt

Abstract We report a failure to find a repetition deficit in recall following the rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) of words within sentences, using adjectives rather than nouns as the critical items. In a series of experiments that ruled out participant and procedural differences as the source of the failure, both word class and list context were found to moderate the repetition deficit, but grammatical necessity did not. The presence in the list of sentences in which the repeated adjectives were separated by more than three words (i.e., more than 400 ms in RSVP) not only eliminated the repetition deficit for the recall of those sentences but also for the recall of sentences in which the repeated adjectives were separated by three or fewer words (i.e., less than 400 ms in RSVP). However, although substantially reduced, a repetition deficit with noun-based materials was still found in this list context. Matching the adjective-based sentences with the noun-based sentences in sentence length and position of the critical items revealed that the moderating effect of word-class on the repetition deficit was mediated by the biases in sentence structure that using different word classes tend to induce.

Repeating a word in the rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) of a sentence or string of words often results in participants failing to recall one of the presentations. This repetition deficit occurs despite the rate of presentation being sufficient for the accurate recall of similarly positioned words in sentences lacking the repetition (e.g., Kanwisher, 1987; Kanwisher & Potter, 1990). For example, although participants may be particularly likely to recall the word "cab" following the RSVP of the sentence, "That cab passed our cab very quickly," possibly even to a greater extent than following the RSVP of the control sentence, "That taxi passed our cab very quickly," they will be less likely to recall both occurrences of the word "cab" in the former than both the word "taxi" and the word "cab" in the latter. Kanwisher (1987) labelled this phenomenon "repetition blindness" -- characterizing it as a failure to perceive and subsequently to report the second of the two occurrences of the repeated word.

Such repetition deficits in RSVP appear to be robust, transcending such nominal impediments as violations of grammaticality and meaning, compounds (e.g., a repetition of the word "dog" following a presentation of "hot dog" or even "hotdog"), shifts in both meaning and word class (e.g., "rose" as a noun following "rose" as a verb), and so on (see, e.g., Kanwisher & Potter, 1990). Nor does the effect appear to be limited to the RSVP of repeated words in sentence frames. Apparently similar effects have been found inter alia with the RSVP of repeated letters in word and pseudo-word frames (e.g., Kanwisher, 1987), and with the RSVP of repetitions of coloured letters and colour patches (Kanwisher, 1991). Such deficits have even been shown to transcend the presentation format: Words presented first as pictures and then as nouns (e.g., a picture of a cat followed by the word "cat," or vice versa) still result in a repetition deficit so long as the encoding dimensions used for each are the same (Bavelier, 1994). Moreover, as long as the sequences are short enough, it is even possible to demonstrate a repetition deficit along one dimension (e.g., locations) while attention is directed to the report of an orthogonal dimension (e.g., letter identity; Epstein & Kanwisher, 1999).

The Type/Token and Other Perception-Based Accounts

To account for these repetition-based deficits, it has been suggested that when the elements of an item, such as the words in a sentence, are presented sufficiently rapidly, repetitions of the words are perceived or encoded as an enhancement or strengthening of a pre-existing type, rather than registering as yet another token occurrence of a previously experienced word within the sentence (e. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.