ISCA Archive SWAP 2000
ISCA Archive SWAP 2000

The time-course of competition

Arie van der Lugt

Previous studies have shown that competition is a central mechanism of spoken word recognition. Using identity priming, Vroomen and De Gelder (1995) demonstrated that visual lexical decision to the Dutch word MELK (milk) was slower after hearing melkaam than after hearing melkeum. This difference was interpreted as evidence for competition. In Dutch, there are many words that start with kaa(m) but only few words that start with keu(m). If the end of the speech input is consistent with many words, lexical decision to an overlapping competitor (e.g. melk) is less facilitated than when the final part is consistent with only a few words. Other evidence for lexical competition was obtained by McQueen, Norris and Cutler (1994) for English using word spotting. They found that it is harder to spot a word like mess in /d« mE s/, which is the beginning of domestic, than in /n« mE s/, which is not the beginning of an English word. Similar materials were here evaluated in two identity priming experiments, that differed only in the relative timing of the visual stimulus. In the critical conditions spoken word fragment primes overlapped either with the first two syllables of a longer real Dutch word or overlapped in all but the first phoneme. In Experiment 1, with the visual target presented at the offset of the auditory stimulus, a facilitatory effect was observed for both the overlapping and the mismatching conditions. In Experiment 2, the visual target was presented at the beginning of the embedded word, and no priming was found for any of the conditions. In short, these experiments find no differential effect of competition. This is somewhat unexpected given the results of McQueen et al. (1994), and those of Vroomen & de Gelder (1995). The results are interpreted in the context the SHORTLIST model (Norris, 1994). Specifically, the absence of lexical inhibition is explained in terms of the time-course of the competition process. The first experiment likely taps in too early and the second experiment likely taps in too late to observe competition effects.

References McQueen, J. M., Norris, D. & Cutler, A. (1994). Competition in spoken word recognition: Spotting words in other words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 20, 621-638.

Norris, D. (1994). Shortlist: A connectionist model of continuous speech recognition. Cognition, 52, 189-234.

Vroomen, J. & de Gelder, B. (1995). Metrical segmentation and lexical inhibition in spoken word recognition, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 21, 98-108.

Cite as: Lugt, A.v.d. (2000) The time-course of competition. Proc. Spoken Word Access Processes (SWAP), 135-138

  author={Arie van der Lugt},
  title={{The time-course of competition}},
  booktitle={Proc. Spoken Word Access Processes (SWAP)},