Abstract

A large word fragment (e.g., "r—i—rop") is harder to solve when disclosed piecemeal from a smaller fragment (e.g., "r—p") than when shown all at once. This perceptual interference has been found to decrease with the number of solutions to the initial fragments. In the present study, 2 experiments manipulated the number of solutions (1 vs. at least 3) to examine this solution effect using a fragment completion task with Chinese characters. The results revealed a solution effect and showed for the first time no interference in the multiple-solution condition. These findings provide evidence against a competition explanation, which attributes interference to activations of incorrect hypotheses in an early presentation, and in favor of a mismatch explanation, which attributes interference to an enduring inhibition of the correct hypothesis regarding stimulus identity after a mismatch is detected between the hypothesis and the stimulus early in the presentation sequence.

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