Competitors or Teammates: How Proper Names Influence Each OtherDecember 22, 20171 min read
Current research by Lisa Abrams and Danielle K. Davis of the University of Florida published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science documents how proper names are more difficult to learn and remember than other types of words. Various causes of this difficulty have been proposed to better understand how proper names are represented in memory and the degree to which names compete with each other. In the retrieval of names, some studies show competition, whereas other studies find facilitation. During comprehension, names demonstrate competition by causing a Moses illusion: People erroneously answer invalid questions such as “How many animals did Moses take on the ark?”, failing to detect that Noah is the correct name for the question. Errors in both name retrieval and comprehension are more likely when the correct name and distractor name sound similar, share biographical characteristics, or have some visual resemblance. However, shared visual information has played a competitive role more consistently in name comprehension than retrieval, an asymmetry that remains to be investigated.
To view the full research article go to: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0963721416677804
Lise Abrams Professor
Lise Abrams is a Professor, Distinguished Teaching Scholar, and Past Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Florida