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Lexical Retrieval Deficit in Picture Naming: Implications for Word Production Models

Brain and Language
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1006/brln.1996.0050
  • Linguistics


Abstract In models of word retrieval, it is common to differentiate lexical-semantic (word meaning) and lexical-phonological (word form) levels. There has been considerable interest in the relationship between these two levels. The so-called discrete two-stage model claims that phonological activation follows selection at the lexical-semantic level and is limited only to the selected item. In contrast, nondiscrete (interactive and cascade) models assume that all activated lexical-semantic candidates are also phonologically activated to some extent. We addressed this issue by studying an anomic patient who suffered from a partial functional disconnection between lexical-semantic and lexical-phonological levels. A multitarget repeated naming task with phonological training was employed. Systematic manipulation of semantic and phonological relatedness between the to-be-named items indicated that our patient's word error patterns were sensitive to both types of lexical relatedness. A delayed repetition task employing the same items failed to show similar effects, suggesting that they were specific to naming. The discrete two-stage model is unable to explain the observed effects of semantic and phonological relatedness. However, they are consistent with assumptions of nondiscrete models of lexical retrieval. In addition to the theoretical implications of this study, the observed effects of lexical context on word retrieval have implications for treatment of anomia.

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