Neighborhood effects in auditory word recognition: Phonological competition and orthographic facilitation


  • Ziegler J
  • Muneaux M
  • Grainger J

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The present study investigated phonological and orthographic neighborhood effects in auditory word. recognition in French. In an auditory lexical decision task, phonological neighborhood (PN) produced the standard inhibitory effect (words with many neighbors produced longer latencies and more errors than words with few neighbors). In contrast, orthographic neighborhood (ON) produced a facilitatory effect. In Experiment 2, the facilitatory ON effect was replicated while controlling for phonotactic probability, a variable that has previously been shown to produce facilitatory effects. In Experiment 3, the results were replicated in a shadowing task, ruling out the possibility that the ON effect results from a strategic and task-specific mechanism that might operate in the lexical decision task. It is argued that the PN effect reflects lexical competition between similar sounding words while the ON effect reflects the consistency of the sublexical mapping between phonology and orthography. The results join an accumulating number of studies suggesting that orthographic information influences auditory word recognition. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

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