When words collide: Bayesian meta-analyses of distractor and target properties in the picture-word interference paradigm

by   Audrey Bürki, et al.

In the picture-word interference paradigm, participants name pictures while ignoring a written or spoken distractor word. Naming times to the pictures are slowed down by the presence of the distractor word. Various properties of the distractor modulate this slow down, for example naming times are shorter with frequent vs. infrequent distractors. Building on this line of research, the present study investigates in more detail the impact of distractor and target word properties on picture naming times. We report the results of several Bayesian meta-analyses, based on 35 datasets. The aim of the first analysis was to obtain an estimation of the size of the distractor frequency effect, and of its precision, in typical picture-word interference experiments where this variable is not manipulated. The analysis shows that a one-unit increase in log frequency results in response times to the pictures decreasing by about 4ms (95 that after accounting for the effect of frequency, two variables known to influence processing times in visual word processing tasks also influence picture naming times: distractor length and orthographic neighborhood. Finally, we found that distractor word frequency and target word frequency interact; the effect of distractor frequency decreases as the frequency of the target word increases. We discuss the theoretical and methodological implications of these findings, as well as the importance of obtaining high-precision estimates of experimental effects.


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