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Orthographic and phonological effects in the picture–word interference paradigm: Evidence from a logographic language


One important finding with the picture–word interference paradigm is that picture-naming performance is facilitated by the presentation of a distractor (e.g., CAP) formally related to the picture name (e.g., “cat”). In two picture-naming experiments we investigated the nature of such form facilitation effect with Mandarin Chinese, separating the effects of phonology and orthography. Significant facilitation effects were observed both when distractors were only orthographically or only phonologically related to the targets. The orthographic effect was overall stronger than the phonological effect. These findings suggest that the classic form facilitation effect in picture–word interference is a mixed effect with multiple loci: it cannot be attributed merely to the nonlexical activation of the target phonological segments from the visual input of the distractor. It seems instead that orthographically only related distractors facilitate the lexical selection process of picture naming, and phonologically only related distractors facilitate the retrieval of target phonological segments.

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ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Yanchao Bi, State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, People's Republic of China. E-mail:
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Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
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