ITRW on Experimental Linguistics

Athens, Greece
August 28-30, 2006

The Effect of Semantic Distance in the Picture-Word Interference Task

Simon De Deyne, Sven Van Lommel, Gert Storms

Department of Psychology, Leuven University, Belgium

First, we investigated whether semantic interference in the picture-word task generalizes from close neighbours to more distant category members. Second, we investigated the operationalisation of semantic distance. The presented work manipulated closely versus distantly related distractor words, and examined to which degree various operationalisations of distance determine semantic interference. Withincategory interference did occur, however depending on the quantity and quality of the semantic relationship. The effect was limited to very similar coordinates or semantic neighbours, and did not occur for less similar category coordinates. Furthermore, the associative implementation of semantic distance was most predictive for the interference effect. The findings provide a better understanding of the different measures of semantic distance as well as the process of semantic interference.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Deyne, Simon De / Lommel, Sven Van / Storms, Gert (2006): "The effect of semantic distance in the picture-word interference task", In ExLing-2006, 113-116.