01/01/2007 Computer Science Psychology
DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2006.02.001 SemanticScholar ID: 53144218 MAG: 1975593115

Disambiguating the ambiguity advantage effect in word recognition: An advantage for polysemous but not homonymous words

Publication Summary

Abstract Previous lexical decision studies reported a processing advantage for words with multiple meanings (i.e., the “ambiguity advantage” effect). The present study further specifies the source of this advantage by showing that it is based on the extent of meaning relatedness of ambiguous words. Four types of ambiguous words, balanced homonymous (e.g., “panel”), unbalanced homonymous (e.g., “port”), metaphorically polysemous (e.g., “lip”), and metonymically polysemous (e.g., “rabbit”), were used in auditory and visual simple lexical decision experiments. It was found that ambiguous words with multiple related senses (i.e., polysemous words) are processed faster than frequency-matched unambiguous control words, whereas ambiguous words with multiple unrelated meanings (i.e., homonymous words) do not show such an advantage. In addition, a distinction within polysemy (into metaphor and metonymy) is demonstrated experimentally. These results call for a re-evaluation of models of word recognition, so that the advantage found for polysemous, but not homonymous, words can be accommodated.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Ekaterini Klepousniotou

Dr. Ekaterini Klepousniotou

University of Leeds - Associate Professor

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