Effects of phonological overlap on fluency, speech rate, and word order in unscripted sentence production

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The last two papers based on Katrina Furth’s and Caitie Hilliard’s work back when they were at Rochester just came out in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition and the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

The JEP:LMC paper investigates how lemma selection (i.e., word choice) is affected by phonological overlap. We find evidence for a (weak) bias against sequences of phonologically onset overlapping words. That is, when speakers have a choice, they seem to prefer sentences like “Hannah gave the hammer to the boy”, rather than “Hannah handed the hammer to the boy”. This suggests very early effects of phonology on lexical production, which seem to be incompatible with strictly serial models of word production.

Jaeger, T. F., Furth, K., and Hilliard, C. 2012. Phonological overlap affects lexical selection during sentence production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38(5), 1439-1449. [doi: 10.1037/a0027862]

The Frontiers paper investigates how sequences of phonologically (onset) related words affect fluency, speech rate and word order in unscripted sentence production (as opposed to isolated word production or the highly scripted production of isolated phrases or sentences — the difference matters). We also describe in detail the types of analyses that we used to deal with a large number of control predictors, data sparsity (cf. determining the random effect structure), and a highly unbalanced data set.

Jaeger, T. F., Furth, K., and Hilliard, C. 2012. Phonological encoding during unscripted sentence production. Frontiers in Psychology 3, 481. [doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00481]

Both Katrina and Caitie have moved on to top graduate programs in the Neuro- and Cognitive Sciences. Katrina Furth is now a graduate researcher in the department of Neuroscience at Boston University, working on how “exercise, sleep, and insults during development can modulate the disease course of psychiatric and neurological disorders”. Caitie Hilliard is now a graduate researchers in the Psychology department at the University of Iowa, working with former Rochester (yippie yeah!) post-doc Susan Wagner Cook.

The gallery below contains some figures from the second (Frontiers) paper and some additional figures about that study that aren’t contained in the Frontiers paper. Enjoy. Feedback is as always welcome.

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