Semantic effects in single-word naming.

Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition

PubMedID: 8744959

Strain E, Patterson K, Seidenberg MS. Semantic effects in single-word naming. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1995;21(5):1140-54.
Three experiments demonstrated that, for lower frequency words, reading aloud is affected not only by spelling-sound typicality but also by a semantic variable, imageability. Participants were slower and more error prone when naming exception words with abstract meanings (e.g., scarce) than when naming either abstract regular words (e.g., scribe) or imageable exception words (e.g., soot). It is proposed that semantic representations of words have the largest impact on translating orthography to phonology when this translation process is slow or noisy (i.e., for low-frequency exceptions) and that words with rich semantic representations (i.e., high-imageability words) are most likely to benefit from this interaction.