Using a voice to put a name to a face: the psycholinguistics of proper name comprehension

Barr, D.J. , Jackson, L. and Phillips, I. (2014) Using a voice to put a name to a face: the psycholinguistics of proper name comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(1), pp. 404-413. (doi: 10.1037/a0031813) (PMID:23398179)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


We propose that hearing a proper name (e.g., Kevin) in a particular voice serves as a compound memory cue that directly activates representations of a mutually known target person, often permitting reference resolution without any complex computation of shared knowledge. In a referential communication study, pairs of friends played a communication game, in which we monitored the eyes of one friend (the addressee) while he or she sought to identify the target person, in a set of four photos, on the basis of a name spoken aloud. When the name was spoken by a friend, addressees rapidly identified the target person, and this facilitation was independent of whether the friend was articulating a message he or she had designed versus one from a third party with whom the target person was not shared. Our findings suggest that the comprehension system takes advantage of regularities in the environment to minimize effortful computation about who knows what

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barr, Dr Dale
Authors: Barr, D.J., Jackson, L., and Phillips, I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN (Online):1939-2222
Published Online:11 February 2013

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record