Animacy interactions with individual variability in sentence production and comprehension reveal similar lexically driven competitive processes

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Sentence production and comprehension both draw on linguistic knowledge, but current research is unclear on whether these fundamental language tasks involve similar or distinct competitive processes. Previous studies suggest that production and comprehension may involve similar conflict resolution processes, but that production may additionally recruit motor-related conflict not necessarily present in comprehension. To examine these possibilities, we combined an experimental animacy-driven manipulation eliciting difficulty in separate production and comprehension tasks with an examination of how this manipulation interacted with individual variability in motor-related and lexicosemantic conflict resolution performance beyond vocabulary measures. We reasoned that a different pattern of interactions for production and comprehension would point to distinct processes across these tasks, whereas interactions with the same individual performance task would indicate similar conflict-related processes. We found that beyond a significant role of vocabulary, only a measure of context-dependent lexical ambiguity resolution interacted with the animacy manipulation in the production and the comprehension task. These findings suggest a role for linguistic knowledge and similar lexically driven competitive processes in both sentence production and comprehension. Alongside current computational models, these results raise the possibility that despite different task demands, some production and comprehension competitive processes are not entirely distinct from one another nor separable from lexical knowledge. Implications for current views on the relationship between sentence production and comprehension are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2022

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