Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Facilitation and Interference in the Color-Naming Task

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Facilitation and Interference in the Color-Naming Task

Article excerpt

Published online: 10 May 2014

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Abstract Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the phonological activation of the name of pictures when participants had to name the color in which these pictures were depicted. In Experiment 1, participants named the color of pictures whose names and color names shared the phonological beginning (phonologically related condition), the color of pictures whose names and color names did not share phonology (phonologically unrelated condition), and the color of abstract forms (neutral condition). A facilitatory effect was obtained, so participants were faster in the related condition than in the unrelated condition. However, naming latencies were similar in the neutral condition and the unrelated condition. In Experiment 2, the unrelated condition was replaced by a phonologically incongruent condition in which the name of the picture was phonologically unrelated to its color name but related to the name of other response color names. The results showed again a facilitatory effect when the related condition was compared with the incongruent condition. Importantly, an interference effect was also observed, so naming latencies were longer in the incongruent condition than in the neutral condition. These results are discussed in terms of language production models.

Keywords Speech production · Color-naming task · Phonological facilitation · Color-object interference

It is generally assumed that the production of speech involves three different levels of processing: the conceptual level, the lexical level, and the phonological level. However, there is no consensus concerning the way in which phonological infor- mation is retrieved in language production.

Phonological coactivation in language production

There is no doubt that, to name an object, its phonological form needs to be activated. However, there is no consensus on whether other phonological forms might be activated as well before the object name is said aloud. Following the distinction made in other studies on language production (i.e., Bonin, Roux, Barry, & Canell, 2012;Kuipers&LaHeij,2009), we can distinguish three main views. The discrete position holds that after retrieving the conceptual and lexical (lemma) repre- sentation, only the name of the object becomes activated at the phonological level (Levelt, 1999; Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer, 1999). In contrast, the full-cascading position assumes that, in addition to the activation of the target object name, there is phonological activation of any name whose associated con- cepts have been previously activated at the conceptual level, regardless of whether these concepts are semantically related or not (Caramazza, 1997; Costa, Caramazza, & Sebastián Gallés, 2000; Dell, 1986; Griffin & Bock, 1998;Harley, 1993;Rapp&Goldrick,2000). Finally, there is an intermedi- ate position, the limited-cascading view, in which the object name is activated along with the phonological form of con- cepts semantically related to the target name (Bloem & La Heij, 2003;Kuipers&LaHeij,2009). Thus, under the discrete position, only the target object name is activated; phonologi- cal coactivation is assumed in the full-cascading position, while it is assumed but restricted to semantically related items within the limited-cascading position.

Empirical evidence has been provided to dissociate be- tween the two cascading views by evaluating the possibility of phonological coactivation of picture names semantically unrelated to a target picture name. This activation is predicted by the full-cascading position, but not by the limited- cascading position or the discrete position. However, the results obtained in empirical studies addressing this point are conflicting. Morsella and Miozzo (2002; Navarrete & Costa, 2005, Experiment 1) presented two superimposed pictures, one red and one green, and participants were required to name the green picture only. …

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