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Competition in spoken word recognition: Spotting words in other words.
McQueen, J.M., Norris, D. & Cutler, A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20, 621-638.
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We describe a connectionist model, SHORTLIST, in which word recognition is achieved by processes of activation and competition. Three experiments are then reported in which listeners were required to spot words embedded in nonsense strings, some of which were the onsets of longer words. Competition effects were found for strings with Weak-Strong stress patterns (e.g. mess was harder to detect in /d´mes/, the onset of domestic, than in the nonword onset /n´mes/). Competition effects for targets in Strong-Weak strings (e.g. sack being harder to detect in /sækr´f/, the onset of sacrifice, than in /sækr´k/ were only detectable when subjects were forced to analyse the complete string. Overall, however, word-spotting was easier in Weak-Strong than in Strong-Weak strings. The results suggest that activation and competition alone are not sufficient to explain word recognition in continuous speech. They can be explained by a version of SHORTLIST which is sensitive to prosodic structure.