Different Loci of Semantic Interference in Picture Naming vs. Word-Picture Matching Tasks

Denise Y. Harvey, Tatiana T. Schnur
2016 Frontiers in Psychology  
Naming pictures and matching words to pictures belonging to the same semantic category impairs performance relative to when stimuli come from different semantic categories (i.e., semantic interference). Despite similar semantic interference phenomena in both picture naming and word-picture matching tasks, the locus of interference has been attributed to different levels of the language system -lexical in naming and semantic in word-picture matching. Although both tasks involve access to shared
more » ... emantic representations, the extent to which interference originates and/or has its locus at a shared level remains unclear, as these effects are often investigated in isolation. We manipulated semantic context in cyclical picture naming and word-picture matching tasks, and tested whether factors tapping semantic-level (generalization of interference to novel category items) and lexical-level processes (interactions with lexical frequency) affected the magnitude of interference, while also assessing whether interference occurs at a shared processing level(s) (transfer of interference across tasks). We found that semantic interference in naming was sensitive to both semantic-and lexical-level processes (i.e., larger interference for novel vs. old and low-vs. highfrequency stimuli), consistent with a semantically mediated lexical locus. Interference in word-picture matching exhibited stable interference for old and novel stimuli and did not interact with lexical frequency. Further, interference transferred from word-picture matching to naming. Together, these experiments provide evidence to suggest that semantic interference in both tasks originates at a shared processing stage (presumably at the semantic level), but that it exerts its effect at different loci when naming pictures vs. matching words to pictures.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00710 pmid:27242621 pmcid:PMC4865493 fatcat:ezev6mhjg5alvnexundazc2qwm