There is theoretical debate as to whether language comprehension and production processes involve shared representations or distinct representational systems (Roelof, in press). Where these processes have been considered in isolation, split comprehension and production models have evolved. In contrast, dialogue research indicates input representations formed during comprehension are co-ordinated, or aligned, with output representations formed during production (Bard, Anderson, Sotillo, Aylett, Doherty-Sneddon & Newlands, 2000; Branigan, Pickering & Cleland, 2001; Brenan & Clark, 1996; Clark & Marshall, 1981; Garrod and Anderson, 1987; Garrod & Clark, 1993; Garrod & Doherty, 1994; Levelt & Kelter, 1982). We modified Wilshire's (1999) tongue twister paradigm to test whether representations held in comprehension and production aligned at the phonological level. When read aloud, tongue twister word strings with alliterations of similar phonemes in the same position prime errors (Butterworth & Whittaker, 1980; Kupin, 1982; Levitt & Healy, 1985; Shattuck-Hufnagel, S. & Klatt, 1979; Wilshire, 1999). To date, such paradigms have had an articulatory component that has made distinguishing between phonological and motor interference difficult. In order to make this distinction we included an auditory condition, where tongue twister strings were simply heard prior to articulating a target word. Error rate, reaction time and word duration measured dysfluent articulation. Error rate and reaction time increased on tongue twister conditions in the spoken modality only, suggesting motor interference. Word duration increased on tongue twister conditions in both the overtly articulated and auditory modalities, with a greater effect for the auditory modality. As simply listening to tongue twister strings interfered with articulation, we propose an incorrect phonological representation primed during comprehension interfered with subsequent production. Our findings indicate that the representations involved in comprehension and production are primarily phonological and are shared. They support Pickering and Garrod's Alignment theory (in press) which can also account for the observed word duration increase in absence of errors. These findings indicate an automatic link between comprehension, or perception, and production, or behaviour, (Dijksterhuis & Bargh, 2001; Pickering & Garrod, in press; Prinz, 1997). Results from a second experiment will also be reported.
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