Imageability and ambiguity effects in speeded naming: Convergence and divergence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A current area of controversy within the literature on visual word recognition concerns the extent to which semantic information influences the computation of phonology. Experiment 1 revealed that both the imageability effect and the ambiguity advantage seen in the speeded naming task are confined to words with atypical mappings between spelling and sound. Nonetheless, it is possible that either of these effects may arise from the operation of the direct rather than the semantic pathway. Experiment 2 therefore included nonword fillers in order to minimize semantic reliance during speeded naming. This manipulation removed the imageability effect, indicating a semantic locus, but the ambiguity advantage remained, suggesting a nonsemantic locus. These results are considered in the context of computational models that incorporate a semantic level of representation. Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-890
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005