Is comprehension necessary for error detection? A conflict-based account of monitoring in speech production

Nazbanou Nozari, Gary S. Dell, Myrna F. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite the existence of speech errors, verbal communication is successful because speakers can detect (and correct) their errors. The standard theory of speech-error detection, the perceptual-loop account, posits that the comprehension system monitors production output for errors. Such a comprehension-based monitor, however, cannot explain the double dissociation between comprehension and error-detection ability observed in the aphasic patients. We propose a new theory of speech-error detection which is instead based on the production process itself. The theory borrows from studies of forced-choice-response tasks the notion that error detection is accomplished by monitoring response conflict via a frontal brain structure, such as the anterior cingulate cortex. We adapt this idea to the two-step model of word production, and test the model-derived predictions on a sample of aphasic patients. Our results show a strong correlation between patients' error-detection ability and the model's characterization of their production skills, and no significant correlation between error detection and comprehension measures, thus supporting a production-based monitor, generally, and the implemented conflict-based monitor in particular. The successful application of the conflict-based theory to error-detection in linguistic, as well as non-linguistic domains points to a domain-general monitoring system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalCognitive Psychology
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Aphasia
  • Computational models
  • Error detection
  • Speech errors
  • Speech monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Linguistics and Language

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