Published On: 26/06/2009|Categories: 2008–2012, Vol.30 (2), Vol.30 (2009)|

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When a speaker names an object using a gender-marked pronominal form, the referent word corresponding to the target object has to be selected in order to access the grammatical gender. By contrast, the phonological content of the referent word is not needed. In two picture-naming interference experiments we explored whether the lexical selection of a referent word is affected by its phonological properties. In Experiment 1, Spanish participants named pictures using a sentence with a noun or a pronoun while ignoring words semantically or phonologically related. The results showed a semantic interference effect and a Phonological Facilitation Effect (PFE) in both type of utterances. In Experiment 2 the PFE was replicated with Italian participants in a different pronominal utterance. The PFE suggests that the lexical selection of the referent word is facilitated by the presentation of a distractor word phonologically related. These findings are consistent with the predictions of interactive models of lexical access.

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