To examine phonological and orthographic effects on semantic processing, the present study utilized a semantic task with nonverbal stimuli. In Experiment 1, Hebrew speakers were asked to decide whether 2 pictorial targets are semantically related or not. In Experiment 2, Hebrew speakers and non-Hebrew speakers were asked to rate the semantic relatedness of the same targets on a 5-point scale. Experiment 3 was identical to the first experiment except that the 2 pictures were presented simultaneously rather than sequentially. In all experiments, we compared responses to semantically unrelated pairs in 2 conditions: In the ambiguous condition, each pair represented 2 distinct meanings of an ambiguous Hebrew word. In the unambiguous condition, the first picture was replaced with an unambiguous control. To disentangle phonological and orthographic effects, three types of Hebrew ambiguous words were used: homonyms, homophones, and homographs. Ambiguous pairs were more difficult to be judged as semantically unrelated in comparison to their unambiguous controls. Moreover, while non-Hebrew speakers did not distinguish between the 2 lexical conditions, Hebrew speakers rated ambiguous pairs as significantly more related than their unambiguous controls. Importantly, in general, the ambiguity effect was stronger for homonyms, where both lexical forms are shared, than for either homophones or homographs, which are only phonologically or orthographically related. Thus, consistent with interactive “triangle” models, the results suggest that (a) conceptual-semantic representations automatically activate both their corresponding phonological and orthographic lexical forms, and (b) these lexical forms, once activated, may in turn affect semantic-conceptual processes via feedback connections.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015, Psychonomic Society, Inc.
- Lexical processing
- Object recognition
- Semantic memory
- Word production
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)