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Early conceptual and linguistic processes operate in independent channels

Endress, A. & Potter, M. (2012). Early conceptual and linguistic processes operate in independent channels. Psychological Science, 23(3), pp. 235-245. doi: 10.1177/0956797611421485


Language and concepts are intimately linked, but how do they interact? In the study reported here, we probed the relation between conceptual and linguistic processing at the earliest processing stages. We presented observers with sequences of visual scenes lasting 200 or 250 ms per picture. Results showed that observers understood and remembered the scenes’ abstract gist and, therefore, their conceptual meaning. However, observers remembered the scenes at least as well when they simultaneously performed a linguistic secondary task (i.e., reading and retaining sentences); in contrast, a nonlinguistic secondary task (equated for difficulty with the linguistic task) impaired scene recognition. Further, encoding scenes interfered with performance on the nonlinguistic task and vice versa, but scene processing and performing the linguistic task did not affect each other. At the earliest stages of conceptual processing, the extraction of meaning from visually presented linguistic stimuli and the extraction of conceptual information from the world take place in remarkably independent channels.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2012 SAGE
Publisher Keywords: language cognitive processes attention memory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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