Effects of irrelevant unintelligible and intelligible background speech on spoken language production
Earlier work has explored spoken word production during irrelevant background speech such as intelligible and unintelligible word lists. The present study compared how different types of irrelevant background speech (word lists vs. sentences) influenced spoken word production relative to a quiet control condition, and whether the influence depended on the intelligibility of the background speech. Experiment 1 presented native Dutch speakers with Chinese word lists and sentences. Experiment 2 presented a similar group with Dutch word lists and sentences. In both experiments, the lexical selection demands in speech production were manipulated by varying name agreement (high vs. low) of the to-be-named pictures. Results showed that background speech, regardless of its intelligibility, disrupted spoken word production relative to a quiet condition, but no effects of word lists versus sentences in either language were found. Moreover, the disruption by intelligible background speech compared with the quiet condition was eliminated when planning low name agreement pictures. These findings suggest that any speech, even unintelligible speech, interferes with production, which implies that the disruption of spoken word production is mainly phonological in nature. The disruption by intelligible background speech can be reduced or eliminated via top–down attentional engagement.
Publication typeJournal article