Advertisement

Memory & Cognition

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 145–168 | Cite as

A close call: Interference from semantic neighbourhood density and similarity in language production

  • Nora FiederEmail author
  • Isabell Wartenburger
  • Rasha Abdel Rahman
Article
  • 158 Downloads

Abstract

The present study investigated how lexical selection is influenced by the number of semantically related representations (semantic neighbourhood density) and their similarity (semantic distance) to the target in a speeded picture-naming task. Semantic neighbourhood density and similarity as continuous variables were used to assess lexical selection for which competitive and noncompetitive mechanisms have been proposed. Previous studies found mixed effects of semantic neighbourhood variables, leaving this issue unresolved. Here, we demonstrate interference of semantic neighbourhood similarity with less accurate naming responses and a higher likelihood of producing semantic errors and omissions over accurate responses for words with semantically more similar (closer) neighbours. No main effect of semantic neighbourhood density and no interaction between semantic neighbourhood density and similarity was found. We assessed further whether semantic neighbourhood density can affect naming performance if semantic neighbours exceed a certain degree of semantic similarity. Semantic similarity between the target and each neighbour was used to split semantic neighbourhood density into two different density variables: The number of semantically close neighbours versus distant neighbours. The results showed a significant effect of close, but not of distant, semantic neighbourhood density: Naming pictures of targets with more close semantic neighbours led to longer naming latencies, less accurate responses, and a higher likelihood for the production of semantic errors and omissions over accurate responses. The results show that word inherent semantic attributes such as semantic neighbourhood similarity and the number of coactivated close semantic neighbours modulate lexical selection supporting theories of competitive lexical processing.

Keywords

Language production Semantic processing Lexical selection Semantic neighbours 

References

  1. Abdel Rahman, R., & Melinger, A. (2007). When bees hamper the production of honey: Lexical interference from associates in speech production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33(3), 604–614. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.33.3.604 Google Scholar
  2. Abdel Rahman, R., & Melinger, A. (2009). Semantic context effects in language production: A swinging lexical network proposal and a review. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24(5), 713–734. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01690960802597250 Google Scholar
  3. Alario, F.-X., & Ferrand, L. (1999). A set of 400 pictures standardized for French: Norms for name agreement, image agreement, familiarity, visual complexity, image variability, and age of acquisition, Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers., 31(3), 531–552.Google Scholar
  4. Alario, F.-X., Ferrand, L., Laganaro, M., New, B., Frauenfelder, U. H., & Segui, J. (2004). Predictors of picture naming speed, Behavior Research Methods Instruments, & Computers., 36(1), 140–155.Google Scholar
  5. Alario, F.-X., Segui, J., & Ferrand, L. (2000). Semantic and associative priming in picture naming. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 53A(3), 741–764.Google Scholar
  6. Aristei, S., Melinger, A., & Abdel Rahman, R. (2010). Electrophysiological chronometry of semantic context effects in language production. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 1567–1586.Google Scholar
  7. Baayen, R. H., & Milin, P. (2010). Analyzing reaction times. International Journal of Psychological Research, 3(2), 12–28.Google Scholar
  8. Bates, D., Maechler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2014). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. R package version 1.1-5.Google Scholar
  9. Belke, E., Meyer, A. S., & Damian, M. F. (2005). Refractory effects in picture naming as assessed in a semantic blocking paradigm. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A, 58(4), 667–692. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02724980443000142 Google Scholar
  10. Blanken, G., Dittmann, J., & Wallesch, C. W. (2002). Parallel or serial activation of word forms in speech production? Neurolinguistic evidence from an aphasic patient. Neuroscience Letters, 325, 72–74. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3940(02)00227-6 Google Scholar
  11. Bormann, T. (2011). The role of lexical-semantic neighborhood in object naming: Implications for models of lexical access. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 127. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00127 PubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Bormann, T., Kulke, F., Wallesch, C. W., & Blanken, G. (2008). Omissions and semantic errors in aphasic naming: Is there a link? Brain Language, 104(1), 24–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2007.02.004 Google Scholar
  13. Carroll, J. B., & White, M. N. (2007). Word frequency and age of acquisition as determiners of picture-naming latency. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 25(1), 85–95. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14640747308400325 Google Scholar
  14. Cheng, X., Schafer, G., & Akyurek, E. G. (2010). Name agreement in picture naming: An ERP study. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 76(3), 130–141. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2010.03.003 Google Scholar
  15. Cuetos, F., Aguado, G., Izura, C., & Ellis, A. W. (2002). Aphasic naming in Spanish: predictors and errors. Brain and Language, 82, 344–365.Google Scholar
  16. Cutting, J. C., & Ferreira, V. S. (1999). Semantic and phonological information flow in the production lexicon. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 25(2), 318–344. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.25.2.318 Google Scholar
  17. Damian, M. F., & Als, L. C. (2005). Long-lasting semantic context effects in the spoken production of object names. Journal of Experimental Psycholgoy: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31(6), 1372–1384. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.31.6.1372 Google Scholar
  18. Damian, M. F., Vigliocco, G., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2001). Effects of semantic context in the naming of pictures and words. Cognition, 81, B77–B86.Google Scholar
  19. Dell, G. S. (1986). A spreading activation theory of retrieval in sentence production. Psychological Review, 93, 283–321. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.93.3.283 Google Scholar
  20. Dell, G. S., Schwartz, M. F., Martin, N., Saffran, E. M., & Gagnon, D. A. (1997). Lexical access in aphasic and nonaphasic speakers. Psychological Review, 104(4), 801–838.Google Scholar
  21. Devereux, B. J., Tyler, L. K., Geertzen, J., & Randall, B. (2014). The Centre for Speech, Language and the brain (CSLB) concept property norms. Behavior Research Methods, 46, 1119–1127. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-013-0420-4 Google Scholar
  22. Ellis, A. W. (1985). The production of spoken words: A cognitive neuropsychological perspective. In A. W. Ellis (Ed.), Progress in the psychology of language (pp. 107–140). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  23. Fieder, N., Krajenbrink, T., Foxe, D., Hodges, J., Piguet, O., & Nickels, L. (2016). Less is more—Effects of semantic neighbourhood on naming in semantic dementia (svPPA). Stem-, Spraak- en Taalpathologie, 21, 65–68.Google Scholar
  24. Finkbeiner, M., & Caramazza, A. (2006). Now you see it, now you don’t: On turning semantic interference into facilitation in a Stroop-like task. Cortex, 42(6), 790–796. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0010-9452(08)70419-2 Google Scholar
  25. Forster, K. I., & Forster, J. C. (2003). DMDX: A Windows display program with millisecond accuracy. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35(1), 116–124.Google Scholar
  26. Gilhooly, K. J., & Hay, D. (1977). Instrumentation & Techniques: Imagery, concreteness, age-of-acquisition, familiarity, and meaningfulness values for 205 five-letter words having single-solution anagrams. Behavior Research Methods & Instrumentation, 9(1), 12–17.Google Scholar
  27. Glaser, W. R., & Düngelhoff, F.-J. (1984). The time course of picture-word interference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 10(5), 640–654.Google Scholar
  28. Glaser, W. R., & Glaser, M. O. (1989). Context effects in Stroop-like word and picture processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 118(1), 13.Google Scholar
  29. Hameau, S. (2017). Neighbourhood density effects in spoken word production (Doctoral thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia).Google Scholar
  30. Hameau, S., Biedermann, B., & Nickels, L. (2018). Effects of semantic neighbourhood density on unimpaired and aphasic spoken word production. Manuscript submitted for pubication.Google Scholar
  31. Harley, T. A. (1993a). Connectionist approaches to language disorders. Aphasiology, 7(3), 221–249. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02687039308249508 Google Scholar
  32. Harley, T. A. (1993b). Phonological activation of semantic competitors during lexical access in speech production. Language and Cognitive Processes, 8(3), 291–309. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01690969308406957 Google Scholar
  33. Hauk, O., Davis, M. H., Ford, M., Pulvermüller, F., & Marslen-Wilson, W. D. (2006). The time course of visual word recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data. NeuroImage, 30(4), 1383–1400.Google Scholar
  34. Heister, J., Würzner, K.-M., Bubenzer, J., Pohl, E., Hanneforth, T., Geyken, A., & Kliegl, R. (2011). dlexDB—eine lexikalische Datenbank für die psychologische und linguistische Forschung. Psychologische Rundschau, 62(1), 10–20. doi: https://doi.org/10.1026/0033-3042/a000029 Google Scholar
  35. Hodgson, C., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2008). Mimicking aphasic semantic errors in normal speech production: Evidence from a novel experimental paradigm. Brain and Language, 104(1), 89–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2007.03.007 Google Scholar
  36. Howard, D., Nickels, L., Coltheart, M., & Cole-Virtue, J. (2006). Cumulative semantic inhibition in picture naming: Experimental and computational studies. Cognition, 100(3), 464–482. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2005.02.006 Google Scholar
  37. Hutson, J., & Damian, M. F. (2014). Semantic gradients in picture-word interference tasks: Is the size of interference effects affected by the degree of semantic overlap? Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 872. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00872 PubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  38. Jaeger, F. T., Furth, K., & Hilliard, C. (2012). Phonological overlap affects lexical selection during sentence production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38(5), 1439–1449.Google Scholar
  39. Kello, C. T. (2004). Control over the time course of cognition in the tempo-naming task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30(5), 942–955. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.30.5.942 Google Scholar
  40. Kello, C. T., & Plaut, D. C. (2010). Strategic control in word reading: Evidence from speeded responding in the tempo-naming task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26(3), 719–750.Google Scholar
  41. Kiran, S., & Thompson, C. K. (2003). The role of semantic complexity in treatment of naming deficits: Training semantic categories in fluent aphasia by controlling exemplar typicality. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 608–622. doi: https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2003/048) Google Scholar
  42. Kittredge, A. K., Dell, G. S., & Schwartz, M. F. (2007a). Omissions in aphasic picture naming: Late AoA is the culprit, as well as low semantic density. Poster presented at the 45th Meeting of the Academy of Aphasia, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  43. Kittredge, A. K., Dell, G. S., & Schwartz, M. F. (2007b). Omissions in aphasic picture naming: Late age-of-acquisition is the culprit, not low semantic density, Brain and Language, 103, 132–133.Google Scholar
  44. Klein, G. S. (1964). Semantic power measured through the interference of words with color-naming. The American Journal of Psychology, 77(4), 576–588.Google Scholar
  45. Kuznetsova, A., Brockhoff, P. B., & Christensen, R. H. B. (2014). lmerTest: Tests for random and fixed effects for linear mixed effect models (lmer objects of lme4 package): R Package Version 2.0-6 [Computer software]. Retrieved fromGoogle Scholar
  46. La Heij, W. (1988). Components of Stroop-like interference in picture naming. Memory & Cognition, 16(5), 400–410.Google Scholar
  47. La Heij, W., Dirkx, J., & Kramer, P. (1990). Categorical interference and associative priming in picture naming. British Journal of Psychology, 81, 511–525.Google Scholar
  48. Landauer, T. K., Foltz, P. W., & Laham, D. (1998). Introduction to latent semantic analysis. Discourse Processes, 25, 259–284.Google Scholar
  49. Lee, M. M., & de Zubicaray, G. (2010). Lexical selection is by competition: A failure to replicate Mahon et al.’s (2007) Experiment 7. Poster presented at the 6th International Workshhop of Language Production, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  50. Levelt, W. J. M., Roelofs, A., & Meyer, A. S. (1999). A theory of lexical access in speech production. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 22, 1–75.Google Scholar
  51. Luce, R. D. (1959). Individual choice behavior: A theoretical analysis. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  52. Mahon, B. Z., Costa, A., Peterson, R., Vargas, K. A., & Caramazza, A. (2007). Lexical selection is not by competition: A reinterpretation of semantic interference and facilitation effects in the picture-word interference paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33(3), 503–535. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.33.3.503.supp Google Scholar
  53. McClelland, J. L., & Elman, J. L. (1986). The TRACE model of speech perception. Cognitive Psychology, 18, 1–86. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(86)90015-0 Google Scholar
  54. McClelland, J. L., & Rumelhart, D. E. (1981). An interactive activation model of context effects in letter perception: Part 1. An account of basic findings. Psychological Review, 88(5), 375–407. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.88.5.375 Google Scholar
  55. McRae, K., Cree, G. S., Seidenberg, M. S., & McNorgan, C. (2005). Semantic feature production norms for a large set of living and nonliving things. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 37(4), 547–559.Google Scholar
  56. Melinger, A., & Abdel Rahman, R. (2013). Lexical selection is competitive: Evidence from indirectly activated semantic associates during picture naming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39(2), 348–364.Google Scholar
  57. Miozzo, M., & Caramazza, A. (2003). When more is less: A counterintuitive effect of distractor frequency in the picture-word interference paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 132(2), 228–252. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.132.2.228 Google Scholar
  58. Mirman, D. (2011). Effects of near and distant semantic neighbors on word production. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci, 11(1), 32-43. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-010-0009-7 Google Scholar
  59. Mirman, D., & Graziano, K. M. (2013). The neural basis of inhibitory effects of semantic and phonological neighbors in spoken word production. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(9), 1504–1516. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00408 PubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  60. Mirman, D., & Magnuson, J. S. (2008). Attractor dynamics and semantic neighborhood density: Processing is slowed by near neighbors and speeded by distant neighbors. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34(1), 65–79. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.34.1.65 Google Scholar
  61. Morrison, C. M., Ellis, A. W., & Quinlan, P. T. (1992). Age of acquisition, not word frequency, affects object naming, not object recognition. Memory & Cognition, 20(6), 705–714.Google Scholar
  62. Morton, J. (1969). Interaction of information in word recognition. Psychological Review, 76(2), 165–178.Google Scholar
  63. Morton, J. (1985). Naming. In S. Newman & R. J. Epstein (Eds.), Current perspectives in dysphasia, Edinburgh, UK: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
  64. Nickels, L., & Howard, D. (1995). Aphasic naming: What matters? Neuropsychologia, 33(10), 1281–1303.Google Scholar
  65. Oppenheim, G. M., Dell, G. S., & Schwartz, M. F. (2010). The dark side of incremental learning: A model of cumulative semantic interference during lexical access in speech production. Cognition, 114, 227–252. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.09.007 Google Scholar
  66. Protopapas, A. (2007). CheckVocal: A program to facilitate checking the accuracy and response time of vocal responses from DMDX. Behavior Research Methods, 39(4), 859–862.Google Scholar
  67. Rabovsky, M., Schad, D. J., & Abdel Rahman, R. (2016). Language production is facilitated by semantic richness but inhibited by semantic density: Evidence from picture naming. Cognition, 146, 240–244. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2015.09.016 Google Scholar
  68. Roelofs, A. (1992). A spreading-activation theory of lemma retrieval in speaking. Cognition, 42(1/3), 107–142. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0277(92)90041-F Google Scholar
  69. Roelofs, A. (2018). A unified computational account of cumulative semantic, semantic blocking, and semantic distractor effects in picture naming. Cognition, 172, 59–72. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.12.007 Google Scholar
  70. Rose, S. B., & Abdel Rahman, R. (2017). Semantic similarity promotes interference in the continuous naming paradigm: Behavioural and electrophysiological evidence. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(1), 55–68. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2016.1212081 Google Scholar
  71. Schriefers, H., Meyer, A. S., & Levelt, W. J. M. (1990). Exploring the time course of lexical access in language production: Picture-word interference studies. Journal of Memory and Language, 29, 86–102.Google Scholar
  72. Schröder, A., Gemballa, T., Ruppin, S., & Wartenburger, I. (2012). German norms for semantic typicality, age of acquisition, and concept familiarity. Behavior Research Methods, 44(2), 380–394. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-011-0164-y Google Scholar
  73. Starreveld, P. A., & La Heij, W. (1996). Time-course analysis of semantic and orthographic context effects in picture naming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 22(4), 896–918.Google Scholar
  74. Stemberger, J. P. (1985). An interactive activation model of language production. In A. W. Ellis (Ed.), Progress in the psychology of language (pp. 143–183). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  75. R Core Team. (2014). R: A language and environment for statistical computing [Computer software]. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.Google Scholar
  76. Thompson, C. K. (2007). Complexity in language learning and treatment. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16, 3–5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1044/1058-0360(2007/002) PubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  77. Vigliocco, G., Vinson, D. P., Damian, M. F., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2002). Semantic distance effects on object and action naming. Cognition, 85, B61–B69.Google Scholar
  78. Vigliocco, G., Vinson, D. P., Lewis, W., & Garrett, M. F. (2004). Representing the meanings of object and action words: The featural and unitary semantic space hypothesis. Cognitive Psychology, 48(4), 422–488. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2003.09.001 Google Scholar
  79. Wheeldon, L. R., & Monsell, S. (1994). Inhibition of spoken word production by priming a semantic competitor. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 332–356. doi: https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1994.1016 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora Fieder
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Isabell Wartenburger
    • 1
    • 3
  • Rasha Abdel Rahman
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Berlin School of Mind and BrainHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Cognition and Its Disorders (CCD), Department of Cognitive ScienceMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Linguistics, Cognitive SciencesUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations