The origin of the linguistic gender effect in spoken-word recognition: Evidence
from non-native listening
Weber, A., & Paris, G.
The origin of the linguistic gender effect in spoken-word recognition: Evidence from non-native listening. In K. Forbus, D. Gentner, & T. Tegier (Eds.
), Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Two eye-tracking experiments examined linguistic gender effects in non-native spoken-word recognition. French participants, who knew German well, followed spoken instructions in German to click on pictures on a computer screen (e.g., Wo befindet sich die Perle, “where is the pearl”) while their eye movements were monitored. The name of the target picture was preceded by a gender-marked article in the instructions. When a target and a competitor picture (with phonologically similar names) were of the same gender in both German and French, French participants fixated competitor pictures more than unrelated pictures. However, when target and competitor were of the same gender in German but of different gender in French, early fixations to the competitor picture were reduced. Competitor activation in the non-native language was seemingly constrained by native gender information. German listeners showed no such viewing time difference. The results speak against a form-based account of the linguistic gender effect. They rather support the notion that the effect originates from the grammatical level of language processing.