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ERIC Number: EJ834127
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Trajectories Emerging from Discrete versus Continuous Processing Models in Phonological Competitor Tasks: A Commentary on Spivey, Grosjean, and Knoblich (2005)
Van Der Wel, Robrecht P. R. D.; Eder, Jeffrey R.; Mitchel, Aaron D.; Walsh, Matthew M.; Rosenbaum, David A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v35 n2 p588-594 Apr 2009
M. J. Spivey, M. Grosjean, and G. Knoblich (2005) showed that in a phonological competitor task, participants' mouse cursor movements showed more curvature toward the competitor item when the competitor and target were phonologically similar than when the competitor and target were phonologically dissimilar. Spivey et al. interpreted this result as evidence for continuous cascading of information during the processing of spoken words. Here we show that the results of Spivey et al. need not be ascribed to continuous speech processing. Instead, their results can be ascribed to discrete processing of speech, provided one appeals to an already supported model of motor control that asserts that switching movements from 1 target to another relies on superposition of the 2nd movement onto the 1st. The latter process is a continuous cascade, a fact that indirectly strengthens the plausibility of continuous cascade models. However, the fact that we can simulate the results of Spivey et al. with a continuous motor output model and a discrete perceptual model shows that the implications of Spivey et al.'s experiment are less clear than these authors supposed. (Contains 1 footnote and 4 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A