Reconciling subphonemic mismatch effects and other psycholinguistic tests of lexical engagement


In contrast to other psycholinguistic measures (lexical decision, pause detection, word spotting, semantic categorization), subphonemic mismatch effects in the Visual World Paradigm (VWP) suggest that newly learned words ('jod') do not need to consolidate before they compete with existing neighbors ('jog'), but do so instantly (Kapnoula et al., 2015). We sought to reconcile these findings by tracking the interference from exposure to a new competitor on a target set shared across the VWP and lexical decision. Against all expectations, lexical decision showed interference immediately after training, but a weaker effect after 24 hr, whereas the VWP showed a subphonemic effect only after 24 hr. Interestingly, the latter was larger after excluding targets (and associated competitors) that rhymed across the trained and untrained conditions ('jo[d]g'/'fo[d]g'). While the absence of a consolidation gradient in lexical decision is puzzling, our VWP results give hints that learning-induced subphonemic effects have more than one locus.