Previous research has found apparently contradictory effects of a semantically similar competitor on how people refer to previously mentioned entities. To address this issue, we conducted two picture-description experiments in spoken Mandarin. In Experiment 1, participants saw pictures and heard sentences referring to both the target referent and a competitor, and then described actions involving only the target referent. They produced fewer omissions and more repeated noun phrases when the competitor was semantically similar to the target referent than otherwise. In Experiment 2, participants saw introductory pictures and heard sentences referring to only the target referent, and then described actions involving both the target referent and a competitor. They produced more omissions and fewer pronouns when the competitor was semantically similar to the target referent than otherwise. We interpret the results in terms of the representation of discourse entities and the stages of language production.
|Journal||Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology|
|Early online date||19 Jan 2023|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2023|
- language production
- sentence production
- similarity-based interference
- referential expression