Suppressing Irrelevant Information

Knowledge Activation or Inhibition?

Danielle McNamara, Mark A. McDaniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 3 experiments, the authors examined the role of knowledge activation in the suppression of contextually irrelevant meanings for ambiguous homographs. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants with greater baseball knowledge, regardless of reading skill, more quickly suppressed the irrelevant meaning of ambiguous words in baseball-related, but not general-topic, sentences. Experiment 3 demonstrated that participants with greater general knowledge, regardless of reading skill, more quickly suppressed the irrelevant meaning of the ambiguous words in general-topic sentences. As predicted by D. S. McNamara's (1997) knowledge-based account of suppression, ambiguity effects are influenced by greater activation of knowledge related to the intended meaning of the homograph. These results challenge inhibition (e.g., M. A. Gernsbacher, K. R. Varner, & M. Faust, 1990) as the sole mechanism responsible for the suppression of irrelevant information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-482
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes

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Baseball
activation
Reading
suppression
experiment
Activation
knowledge
Suppression
Experiment
Homographs
Reading Skills
Topic Sentences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Suppressing Irrelevant Information : Knowledge Activation or Inhibition? / McNamara, Danielle; McDaniel, Mark A.

In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, Vol. 30, No. 2, 03.2004, p. 465-482.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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