Semantic ambiguity effects: A matter of time?


Are different amounts of semantic processing associated with different semantic ambiguity effects? Could this explain some discrepant ambiguity effects observed between and across tasks? Armstrong and Plaut (2016) provided an initial set of neural network simulations indicating this is indeed the case. However, their empirical findings using a lexical decision task were not clear-cut. Here, we use improved methods and five different experimental manipulations to slow responding---and the presumed amount of semantic processing---to evaluate their account more rigorously. We also expanded the empirical horizon to another language: Spanish. The results are partially consistent with the predictions of the neural network and differ in several important ways from English data. Potential causes of these discrepancies are discussed in relation to theories of ambiguity resolution and cross-linguistic differences.

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