Clustering coefficients of lexical neighborhoods: Does neighborhood structure matter in spoken word recognition?

Ment Lex. 2010 Nov 1;5(1):1-21. doi: 10.1075/ml.5.1.01alt.


High neighborhood density reduces the speed and accuracy of spoken word recognition. The two studies reported here investigated whether Clustering Coefficient (CC) - a graph theoretic variable measuring the degree to which a word's neighbors are neighbors of one another, has similar effects on spoken word recognition. In Experiment 1, we found that high CC words were identified less accurately when spectrally degraded than low CC words. In Experiment 2, using a word repetition procedure, we observed longer response latencies for high CC words compared to low CC words. Taken together, the results of both studies indicate that higher CC leads to slower and less accurate spoken word recognition. The results are discussed in terms of activation-plus-competition models of spoken word recognition.