An investigation of working memory influences on lexical ambiguity resolution

Nicole Gadsby, Wendy L. Arnott, David A. Copland
2008 Neuropsychology  
The present study employed a combined semantic judgment and lexical decision priming paradigm to examine the impact of working memory on the inhibitory processes of lexical ambiguity resolution. The results indicated that overall, participants activated one meaning of a presented homograph while not priming the alternative meaning. As hypothesized, participants with high working-memory spans exhibited a pattern of priming for congruent conditions and a lack of positive priming for incongruent
more » ... g for incongruent conditions. In contrast, participants with low working-memory capacity showed priming for both congruent and incongruent conditions, but only for conditions in which the context was related to the dominant meaning of the homograph. The results suggest that people with low working-memory capacity have difficulty inhibiting inappropriate homograph meanings and further demonstrate that these difficulties may vary as a function of context-meaning dominance.
doi:10.1037/0894-4105.22.2.209 pmid:18331163 fatcat:h6rnerpwtnbyljj6dz3wm5pavy