All my children: The roles of semantic category and phonetic similarity in the misnaming of familiar individuals.
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Despite knowing a familiar individual (such as a daughter) well, anecdotal evidence suggests that naming errors can occur among very familiar individuals. Here, we investigate the conditions surrounding these types of errors, or misnamings, in which a person (the misnamer) incorrectly calls a familiar individual (the misnamed) by someone else's name (the named). Across 5 studies including over 1,700 participants, we investigated the prevalence of the phenomenon of misnaming, identified factors underlying why it may occur, and tested potential mechanisms. We included undergraduates and MTurk workers and asked questions of both the misnamed and the misnamer. We find that familiar individuals are often misnamed with the name of another member of the same semantic category; family members are misnamed with another family member's name and friends are misnamed with another friend's name. Phonetic similarity between names also leads to misnamings; however, the size of this effect was smaller than that of the semantic category effect. Overall, the misnaming of familiar individuals is driven by the relationship between the misnamer, misnamed, and named; phonetic similarity between the incorrect name used by the misnamer and the correct name also plays a role in misnaming.
Published Version (Please cite this version)
Deffler, Samantha A, Cassidy Fox, Christin M Ogle and David C Rubin (2016). All my children: The roles of semantic category and phonetic similarity in the misnaming of familiar individuals. Mem Cognit, 44(7). pp. 989–999. 10.3758/s13421-016-0613-z Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11918.
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My main research interest has been in long-term memory, especially for complex (or "real-world") stimuli. This work includes the study of autobiographical memory and oral traditions, as well as prose. I have also studied memory as it is more commonly done in experimental psychology laboratories using lists. In addition to this purely behavioral research, which I plan to continue, I work on memory in clinical populations with the aid of a National Institute of Mental Health grant to study PTSD and on the underlying neural basis of memory the aid of a National Institute of Aging grant to study autobiographical memory using fMRI.
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