Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375
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Although many studies have demonstrated the effects of imageability and phonological neighborhood size, few have examined if these factors interact. Strain, Patterson, and Seidenberg (1995) explained an imageability effect in naming low-frequency exception words (only) as being due to a slowing of orthographic-to-phonological mapping for these words, which allowed semantics to have an effect. Tyler, Voice, and Moss (2000) showed an interaction between imageability and phonological cohort size in word repetition. Westbury and Buchanan (2006) found an interaction between imageability and phonology using an auditory false memory paradigm that measured the false recognition rate for phonological associates of semantically primed words. They explained the finding in terms of a greater reliance of abstract than concrete words on phonological representations. In this paper we test three related hypotheses: that the imageability x phonology interaction should be modulated by modality; that measures of phonological processing fluency should predict the size of the interaction; and that concrete and abstract words should show a systematic difference in number of phonological neighbours. We find support for all three hypotheses, suggesting that the interaction between imageability and phonology reflects a difference in the representation of abstract and concrete words in the lexicon.


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