Articulatory Suppression and Phonological Codes in Reading for Meaning

Veronika Coltheart, S. E. Avons, Julie Trollope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate whether the phonological code that causes errors in printed sentence comprehension is affected by concurrent articulation. Forty adult subjects made speeded judgements of the acceptability of printed sentences. The critical sentences were foils that were (1) orthographically unacceptable but phonologically acceptable (e.g. The palace had a thrown room), and (2) spelling controls that were orthographically and phonologically unacceptable (The palace had a thorns room). Half the subjects performed this task in silence (without concurrently articulating) and showed a marked phonological effect such that false alarms to phonologically acceptable foils were more frequent than false alarms to their spelling controls. The remaining subjects who performed this task with concurrent articulatory suppression showed an increase in false alarm rates, but no effect of phonology. In a control experiment using the same subjects, memory span for visually presented long and short words was measured under conditions of silence or concurrent articulation. The word length effect (Baddeley, Thomson, & Buchanan, 1975) disappeared under suppression, indicating that the suppression manipulation was highly effective. Thus the phonological codes that are used both in sentence comprehension and memory span are highly susceptible to articulatory suppression. We discuss possible relationships between phonological codes that mediate lexical access and those that support short-term verbal memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-399
Number of pages25
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1990

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Articulatory Suppression and Phonological Codes in Reading for Meaning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this