Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing
(ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Positive and Negative Influences of the Lexicon on Phonemic Decision-Making

James M. McQueen (1), Anne Cutler (1), Dennis Norris (2)

(1) Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
(2) MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Lexical knowledge influences how human listeners make decisions about speech sounds. Positive lexical effects (faster responses to target sounds in words than in nonwords) are robust across several laboratory tasks, while negative effects (slower responses to targets in more word-like nonwords than in less word-like nonwords) have been found in phonetic decision tasks but not phoneme monitoring tasks. The present experiments tested whether negative lexical effects are therefore a task-specific consequence of the forced choice required in phonetic decision. We compared phoneme monitoring and phonetic decision performance using the same Dutch materials in each task. In both experiments there were positive lexical effects, but no negative lexical effects. We observe that in all studies showing negative lexical effects, the materials were made by cross-splicing, which meant that they contained perceptual evidence supporting the lexically-consistent phonemes. Lexical knowledge seems to influence phonemic decision-making only when there is evidence for the lexically-consistent phoneme in the speech signal.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  McQueen, James M. / Cutler, Anne / Norris, Dennis (2000): "Positive and negative influences of the lexicon on phonemic decision-making", In ICSLP-2000, vol.3, 778-781.