Time to sync the time-course: Co-registration of ERP responses and eye fixations in spoken word recognition
LE3 .A278 2016
Newman, Randy Lynn
Bachelor of Science
In spoken language processing, rhyme effects refer to the activation of lexical candidates that rhyme with a perceived spoken word (e.g., when hearing /hat/, /cat/ should become activated). Feed-forward models that emphasizes word-initial information predict that rhyme effects should not exist, whereas continuous-mapping models predict that they should exist. Behavioural research has failed to find consistent evidence of rhyme effects, whereas physiological methods (electroencephalogram (EEG), eye tracking) have succeeded in finding them. The current study used the novel approach of combining eye tracking and EEG methodology in the investigation of rhyme effects. The paradigm involved participants choosing between four images that either matched an auditory word or mismatched in one of three ways: cohort (identical word-beginning), rhyme (identical word-end) or unrelated. Eye fixation related potentials (EFRPs; EEG time-locked to fixations) were only partially able to distinguish between the different competitors. However, the eye tracking data showed increased fixations to the rhyme over the unrelated competitor and slowed recognition of the target in the presence of a rhyme, both of which are indicative of rhyme effects. Finally, participants were faster to fixate to the target when both rhyme and cohort competitors were present than when only a cohort was present. The non-additive nature of this effect is consistent with continuous-mapping models. Overall, EFRPs were shown to hold promise in illuminating the interactive mechanisms of spoken word recognition.
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