The dynamic microstructure of speech production: semantic interference built on the fly

Rasha Abdel Rahman (Lead / Corresponding author), Alissa Melinger

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)


    We present 4 experiments investigating dynamic and flexible aspects of semantic activation spread during speech planning. In a semantic blocking paradigm, pictures of objects were presented in categorically homogeneous blocks consisting of semantic category members (e.g., foods), in blocks consisting of seemingly unrelated objects that could potentially be integrated into a common theme (e.g., fishing trip), or in heterogeneous blocks consisting of entirely unrelated objects. In Experiment 1 we observed a classic semantic interference effect for the categorically homogeneous condition but no effect for the thematically homogeneous condition. In Experiment 2 the blocks were preceded once by visually presented title words. When titles were presented that referred to the semantic category or theme of the block, interference was observed not only in the categorically homogeneous condition but also in the thematically homogeneous condition. The ad hoc semantic interference effects for thematic relations were replicated with a different set of materials in Experiments 3 and 4. These observations reveal the dynamic nature of the speech production system, shaped by context and formations of flexible ad hoc categories and semantic relations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)149-161
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


    Dive into the research topics of 'The dynamic microstructure of speech production: semantic interference built on the fly'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this