Candle-Candle-Candle-Candy: Continuous Attraction Toward Previously Seen Phonological Competitors


We applied the mouse-tracking methodology to a phonological cohort task interpretable as a version of the A-not-B task. In the first experiment, participants had to click a word like “candle” repeatedly on the same side of the computer screen. They then had to click a phonological competitor (“candy”) on the other side. This was contrasted with a condition in which the word to be clicked repeatedly on the same side was phonologically unrelated to the word at the critical trial. We found that the phonological priming increased attraction toward the competitor. In the second experiment, mouse movements revealed attraction towards the competitor as a function of the number of previous presentations. The results demonstrate that phonological competitors can exert influence on responses even if the competitors are not simultaneously presented. These results are predicted by and provide evidence for the dynamic field theory of movement preparation and execution.

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