Is Segmental Interference Position-dependent?

AbstractThe paper investigates the existence of position-independent segments in written and typed word production. In two experiments, we employed the segmental interference effect to first replicate past findings that naming a picture is more difficult in the context of another picture with which it shares segments in the same position (e.g., glow-flow) compared to an unrelated word (e.g., glow-cave). We then tested a new condition, in which the same target word is paired with an anagram of the original competitor (glow-wolf). Critically, the anagram shared the same number of segments with the target word, but never in the same position. Both experiments found robust interference for targets produced in the context of anagrams, with a magnitude comparable to the interference induced by the position-overlapping word. The results suggest that not only are position-independent segments represented in the production system, but they also play a critical role in activating segmentally related words and creating competition during word production.

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