Types of interference and their resolution in monolingual word production

Małgorzata Korko, Mark Coulson, Alexander Jones, Paul de Mornay Davies

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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There is growing evidence that speakers recruit inhibitory control in situations of high within-language interference, e.g., when selecting from among competing lexical entries or when tailoring utterances to the communicative needs of the addressee. However, little is known about the types of cognitive control mechanisms that are involved in the speech production process. This study examines the relative contribution of various forms of interference arising at different stages of information processing as well as their control to object naming under conditions of prepotent and underdetermined competition. Eighty-nine unimpaired native English speakers completed three inhibitory control tasks (arrow flanker, Simon arrow and anti-saccade) and two object naming tasks (picture-word interference, PWI, and name agreement, NA). Analyses of mean RT and RT distribution (delta plots) showed that only the flanker effect was a significant predictor of the PWI but not NA effect, while the remaining inhibitory measures made no significant contribution to either the PWI or NA effect. Participants with smaller flanker effects, indicative of better resolution of representational conflict, were faster to name objects in the face of competing stimuli. The pattern of results suggests that delays in production can be an outcome of inefficient resolution of interference traced to intermediate rather than late stages of processing, at least as far as the PWI task is concerned.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103251
JournalActa Psychologica
Early online date21 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Control
  • Inhibition
  • Interference
  • Naming
  • Production
  • Word

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