By which name should I call thee? The consequences of having multiple names

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The nominal competitor effect suggests that, when a person has two names associated with them, recall of either name is more difficult than if they just had one name. Drawing on a connectionist framework, this effect could arise either if multiple names were represented as being connected to a single person identity node (PIN), or if multiple names were represented as being connected via one-to-one links to multiple PINs. Whilst the latter has intuitive appeal, results from two experiments support the former architecture. Having two names connected to a single PIN not only gives rise to a nominal competitor effect (Experiment 1), but also gives rise to a familiarity enhancement effect (Experiment 2). These empirical results are simulated using an extension of Brédart, Valentine, Calder, and Gassi's (1995) connectionist architecture, which reveals that both effects hold even when the association of both names to the PIN is unequal. These results are presented in terms of a more complete model for person recognition, and the representation of semantic information within such a model is examined.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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