The aim of this project is to refine current psycholinguistic models of word production by integrating precise information about the dynamics of encoding processes, about the constraints that operate to limit the variability of these processes (i.e. speaker-specific variables and contextual factors) and about how the linguistic system interacts with other cognitive functions during actual speech production.
The results of our experiments so far highlight the role of sustained attention, both to explain inter-individual and intra-individual differences in naming performance. We further find that a large part of the observed inter-individual variability in the time required to prepare a vocal response originates in late encoding processes, i.e., the preparation of motor gestures (Bürki, submitted; Madec, Elbuy, Lorenz, & Bürki, in preparation). On-going experiments examine the role of age and task difficulty in speech production.
In the course of the project, we also addressed important methodological issues pertaining to the study of word production processes. First, we showed that inter-individual differences in the time required to prepare a vocal response impact the Electrophysiological signal, and render the estimation of the time course of events rather imprecise (Madec et al., in preparation). Second, we performed a series of meta-analyses of data collected with the picture-word interference paradigm, one of the most used paradigm in the field. Our work shows that the available evidence to date does not warrant strong conclusions about the functional origin of semantic interference effects (often used to index lexical access in previous studies, Bürki Elbuy, Madec, & Vasishth, 2020) and highlights the role of the properties of the experimental materials in interference effects (Bürki, Alario, & Vasishth, in preparation).
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