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Acta Psychologica Sinica
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Influence of Cumulative Frequencies of Chinese Syllables on the Activation of Homophone Representation in Auditory Lexical Access
FANG Jie;LI Xiaojian;LUO Weiwei
(1 School of Humanities and Communication, Guangdong University of Finance & Economics, Guangzhou 510320, China) (2 School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China) (3 The First Vocational & Technical School of Nanhai, Foshan 528216, China)
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Abstract  

The cumulative frequency of a homophone syllable in Chinese is the summation of the specific frequencies of one-character words within the homophone family. It is the frequency of a syllable heard as a word and is thus called the syllable frequency. So far, there has been no consensus on its effect on lexical access. The aim of this study was to explore the influence of cumulative frequencies on the activation of homophone representation in auditory lexical access of syllables. The roles of specific frequencies of homophones and the homophone family sizes, which make up the cumulative frequencies, were also investigated. The study adapted a cross-modality paradigm, homophonic sound-character matching, together with a visual lexical decision task and ANCOVA, to separate the effect of the activation of representation in auditory lexical access from the whole response. In Experiment 1, the cumulative frequency and the specific frequency were designed to vary while the homophone family size was fixed. The higher and lower word frequencies within each homophone family served as the higher and lower specific frequencies. The results indicated that increasing the specific frequency facilitated the activation of representation. Increasing the cumulative frequency only elicited a weak inhibitory effect on error rates, which may be attributed to the representation inhibition of lower frequency words caused by the representation activation for higher frequency words within homophone families. In Experiment 2, the cumulative frequency and the homophone family size were designed to vary while the specific frequency was fixed. The results indicated that increasing the homophone family size inhibited the activation of representation, while the effect of cumulative frequency was absent. The results of the two experiments suggest that the influence of cumulative frequencies of Chinese syllables on the activation of homophone representation in auditory lexical access is indefinite. Instead, the activation of representation can be influenced by the specific frequencies and the homophone family sizes. Moreover, the inhibitory effect of homophone family size could only be seen when the specific frequency is fixed. The conclusive influence is determined by the mechanism for the representation activation of higher frequency words and the representation inhibition of lower frequency words within homophone families.

Keywords auditory lexical access      activation of homophone representation      cumulative frequency      specific frequency      homophone family size     
Corresponding Authors: LI Xiaojian   
Issue Date: 25 April 2014
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FANG Jie
LI Xiaojian
LUO Weiwei
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FANG Jie,LI Xiaojian,LUO Weiwei. Influence of Cumulative Frequencies of Chinese Syllables on the Activation of Homophone Representation in Auditory Lexical Access[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00467
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00467     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2014/V46/I4/467
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