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The time course of lexical competition during spoken word recognition in Mandarin Chinese: an event-related potential study

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The present study investigated the effect of lexical competition on the time course of spoken word recognition in Mandarin Chinese using a unimodal auditory priming paradigm. Two kinds of competitive environments were designed. In one session (session 1), only the unrelated and the identical primes were presented before the target words. In the other session (session 2), besides the two conditions in session 1, the target words were also preceded by the cohort primes that have the same initial syllables as the targets. Behavioral results showed an inhibitory effect of the cohort competitors (primes) on target word recognition. The event-related potential results showed that the spoken word recognition processing in the middle and late latency windows is modulated by whether the phonologically related competitors are presented or not. Specifically, preceding activation of the competitors can induce direct competitions between multiple candidate words and lead to increased processing difficulties, primarily at the word disambiguation and selection stage during Mandarin Chinese spoken word recognition. The current study provided both behavioral and electrophysiological evidences for the lexical competition effect among the candidate words during spoken word recognition.
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Keywords: competition; competitive environment; spoken word recognition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition and Department of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China 2: Center for Mind and Brain, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California Davis, Davis, California, USA

Publication date: January 20, 2016

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