An investigation of the role of working memory capacity and naming speed in phonological advance planning in language production
Producing multi-word utterances is a complex, yet relatively effortless process. Research with the picture-word interference paradigm has shown that speakers can plan all elements of such utterances up to the phonological level before initiating speech, yet magnitude and direction of this phonological priming effect (i.e. facilitative vs. inhibitory) differ between but also within studies. We investigated possible sources for variability in the phonological advance planning scope. In two experiments, participants produced bare nouns (“monkey”) and complex noun phrases (“the small red monkey”) while ignoring distractor words phonologically (un)related to the noun. For low- and high-working memory capacity speakers as well as fast and slow speakers, we found phonological facilitation effects for the bare noun, but no distractor effects for the complex noun phrases. However, looking at individual distractor effects for utterance-final elements revealed a large variability between speakers. We conclude that phonological advance planning cannot be summarised as an overall effect, but should take into account inter- and intraindividual variability.
Keywords: language production, individual differences, working memory, phonological advance planning
Published online: 10 January 2019
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