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Ambiguity and visual word recognition: can feedback explain both homophone and polysemy effects?

Canadian journal of experimental psychology = Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale

Cognition, Vocabulary, physiology, Visual Perception, Semantics, Reaction Time, Phonetics, Humans, Feedback

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      In a lexical-decision task (LDT), Hino and Lupker (1996) reported a polysemy effect (faster response times for polysemous words [e.g., BANK]), and attributed this effect to enhanced feedback from the semantic system to orthographic units, for polysemous words. Using the same task, Pexman, Lupker, and Jared (in review) reported a homophone effect (slower response times for homophonic words [e.g., MAID]) and attributed this effect to inconsistent feedback from the phonological system to orthographic units, for homophones. In the present paper we test two predictions derived from this feedback explanation: Polysemy and homophone effects should (a) co-occur in a standard LDT (with pseudoword foils) and (b) both be larger with pseudohomophones (e.g., BRANE) as foils in LDT. The results supported both predictions.

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