Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

McLennan, Conor

Subject Headings

Speech perception, Word recognition, Recognition (Psychology), Social psychology, Cognitive psychology, Language and the Internet, Lexical decision making, spoken word recognition, talker effects, social psychology, cognitive psychology


McLennan and Luce (2005) found no significant cost associated with changing which talker produced a particular word from the first block of trials to the second (no talker effects) when participants responded relatively quickly (easy lexical decision), and that talker effects emerged when participants responded relatively slowly (hard lexical decision). In a lexical decision task, participants hear words and nonwords and reaction times to correct responses are measured. In the current study, we examined whether social factors would lead to talker effects in an easy lexical decision task. In Experiment 1, participants were told that they have a chance to be part of a desirable high achieving group if they performed with high accuracy. Based on previous time-course findings, we predicted that talker effects would emerge in the current experiment, given that participants' attention to accuracy was expected to slow processing. Participants on the contrary sped up. We successfully demonstrated that group belonging is a sufficiently strong prime to alter the way participants perform in this task. In Experiment 2, participants (all males) were told that they would have the opportunity to meet the two talkers (one male and one female) they would hear during the experiment at the end. Moreover, participants were given some (fabricated) background information about the talkers, including mention that the female is attractive and the male is unattractive. Based on previous findings in social psychology, we predicted that the male participants would attend more to the female's voice than to the male's voice. We demonstrated that the female serves as a more effective prime for words later spoken by both the same female talker, and also by the male talker. Examining the relationship between social factors and talker effects should lead to improved models of spoken word recognition, and provide important new insights into how listeners perceive spoken words in various social contexts

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Psychology Commons