Phonological interference in a primed picture naming task

Jie WANG, Andus Wing Kuen WONG, Urs MAURER, Wai Leung WONG, Hsuan-Chih CHEN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Across different paradigms of spoken word production, phonological overlap between a prime and a target can generate opposite effects on target word production (e.g., a facilitative effect in the picture-word interference paradigm, an inhibitory effect when the prime is also produced before target word production). It is unclear whether the modality of prime word presentation modulates the effect of phonological overlap. Hence, the current study directly compared the effects of perceiving versus producing a phonologically related prime on target picture naming. In Experiment 1, three picture sets were selected as stimuli, each consisting of three pictures whose names were disyllabic Cantonese words and shared the same first atonal syllable (e.g., 書包 /syu1baau1/ “schoolbag”, 薯仔 /syu4zai2/ “potato”, 樹葉 /syu6jip6/“leaf”). The nine pictures in total were paired with each other to generate two conditions: phonologically related (sharing the first atonal syllable), or phonologically unrelated. During the experiment, these pictures were presented one at a time. Each two consecutive pictures implicitly formed a pair of prime and target. Phonologically related pairs and unrelated pairs were mixed within blocks. The pictures were either presented alone or together with a gray frame. Cantonese-speaking participants were required to name aloud each picture with the predesignated name if the picture was presented alone but no response was required if it was accompanied by a gray frame together with an auditory presentation of the picture name. Participants named all the target pictures aloud. A naming response was required only for half of the prime pictures (where the picture was presented alone; i.e., active naming prime condition) and no response was required for the other half (where the picture name was auditorily presented together with the picture; i.e., passive listening prime condition). Prime-target relatedness (phonologically related vs. unrelated) and prime condition (active naming vs. passive listening) were manipulated factorially. Participants’ naming latencies were significantly longer when the prime and the target shared the first atonal syllable relative to the unrelated condition, and this interference effect of phonological overlap was comparable across the two prime conditions. This pattern of results was replicated in Experiment 2 with a larger set of stimuli (i.e., fifteen pairs of pictures with disyllabic Cantonese names, each pair sharing the same first atonal syllable). The current finding is consistent with the interactive view of word form encoding during speech production, which assumes that in the word form level of representation the activated form nodes send feedback to the lexical level. The phonological interference observed on target picture naming might result from co-activation of other lexical entries with word form overlap including the pre-activated prime. Comparable effects were induced, no matter the prime was passively perceived or actively produced, suggesting that the same lexical network could be shared between the perception and the production systems and that perception of the prime could alter that network in a similar way as production of it. Copyright © 2018 ICPEAL 17 - CLDC 9.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
EventThe 17th International Conference on the Processing of East Asian Languages and The 9th Conference on Language, Discourse, and Cognition - National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 19 Oct 201821 Oct 2018


ConferenceThe 17th International Conference on the Processing of East Asian Languages and The 9th Conference on Language, Discourse, and Cognition
Abbreviated titleICPEAL 17 – CLDC 9
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China
Internet address


Wang, J., Wong, A. W. K., Maurer, U., Wong, W. L., & Chen, H.-C. (2018, October). Phonological interference in a primed picture naming task. Paper presented at The 17th International Conference on the Processing of East Asian Languages and the 9th Conference on Language, Discourse, and Cognition (ICPEAL 17 – CLDC 9), National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


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