Subvocal motor activity and contextual processing

Steven G. Zecker*, Michael K. Tanenhaus, Alan G. Glaros, R. Douglas Whitman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Twenty male and female subjects listened for mispronounced words while minimizing either subvocal or frontalis electromyographic activity. Stimuli were varied on size of the distortion, lexical constraint, and contextual constraint, all known to influence detections. Analysis of both the reaction time and detection data indicated that the minimization of subvocal EMG activity reduced or eliminated the effect of contextual constraint, while minimization of frontalis EMG activity resulted in the typically observed contextual constraint effect. Results indicate that subvocal activity is related to contextual processing. Additionally, reaction time data are reported that indicate that although low contextual constraint greatly slows the decision process, detectability is actually superior. A possible underlying mechanism for this reversal of the speed-accuracy trade-off is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-193
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Subvocal motor activity and contextual processing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this