Attention, Gaze Shifting, and Dual-Task Interference From Phonological Encoding in Spoken Word Planning

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Controversy exists about whether dual-task interference from word planning reflects structural bottleneck or attentional control factors. Here, participants named pictures whose names could or could not be phonologically prepared, and they manually responded to arrows presented away from (Experiment 1), or superimposed onto, the pictures (Experiments 2 and 3); or they responded to tones (Experiment 4). Pictures and arrows/tones were presented at stimulus onset asynchronies of 0, 300, and 1,000 ms. Earlier research showed that vocal responding hampers auditory perception, which predicts earlier shifts of attention to the tones than to the arrows. Word planning yielded dual-task interference. Phonological preparation reduced the latencies of picture naming and gaze shifting. The preparation benefit was propagated into the latencies of the manual responses to the arrows but not to the tones. The malleability of the interference supports the attentional control account. This conclusion was corroborated by computer simulations showing that an extension of WEAVER++ (A. Roelofs, 2003) with assumptions about the attentional control of tasks quantitatively accounts for the latencies of vocal responding, gaze shifting, and manual responding.

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