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Inhibitory Account of Semantic Interference Resolution in Memory: Suppression of Competing Information

Using a novel paradigm, we provide direct evidence for the role of inhibition during semantic interference resolution in memory. In Experiment 1, target words were primed via a naming task. Then, a cue word prompted participants to generate either a meaningfully related or unrelated word. Producing an unrelated word should require suppression of the cue's closest associates, which were the primed targets. Finally, participants read a list of words including the suppressed targets. Participants were slower to name targets in the unrelated condition than in the related condition, indicating that generating an unrelated word required suppression of competitors. Experiment 2 eliminated the initial priming phase, and a robust suppression effect was observed. Both studies showed that naming targets in the unrelated condition was even slower than controls. These results reflect that resolving semantic competition entails suppression of rejected competitors to below baseline levels, supporting an inhibitory account of interference resolution.
Date15 December 2011
CreatorsNgo, Ka Wai Joan
ContributorsHasher, Lynn
Source SetsUniversity of Toronto
Detected LanguageEnglish

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