What is it about?
We taught participants novel words and used eye-tracking to test whether they encoded the voice in which a word was spoken as part of its newly learned representation. Indeed, we found evidence that they did. That is, we found evidence that listeners don't just use voice information to draw conclusions about speakers' characteristics (gender, accent etc.), but the lexical representations themselves contain voice information.
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Why is it important?
In contrast to traditional views of the mental lexicon, we show that words can carry information about speakers' voices. This means that even if words become abstract via exposure to multiple speakers, abstraction is not an intrinsic property of lexical representations. Our findings inform our understanding of what words are.
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This page is a summary of: Voices in the mental lexicon: Words carry indexical information that can affect access to their meaning, Journal of Memory and Language, August 2019, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2019.05.001.
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