Language and cognition: Effects of stimulus codability, name-word frequency, and age of acquisition on lexical reaction time

Roy Lachman, Juliet Popper Shaffer, Deborah Hennrikus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

Intersubject agreement on names (uncertainty) for pictures indexes codability of visual reality in a language community. The time it takes to access permanent memory and retrieve name-words for visual objects was measured by picture naming reaction time (RT). RT is influenced by four fundamental variables: the uncertainty-codability of the display, the frequency and age of acquisition of the lexical response, and the interval between occasions of picture naming; uncertainty, frequency, and acquisition age covary. An eight-variable regression model mapped the main processes in lexical retrieval. Effects of major variables are independent. RT increases with uncertainty in two nonlinear segments, with apparent algorithmic processing at low uncertainty and heuristic at high. Individual differences reside primarily in RT level (intercepts) and minimally in functional relationships with independent variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-625
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1974

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
z Supported by NIMH Grant MH 21488-02. The authors are grateful to Janet Mistler-Lachman for her criticism and advice and to John B. Carroll for his incisive reviews of the manuscript. Send reprint requests to Roy Lachman, Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77004.

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