Does domain size impact search time during reference production?

Albert Gatt, Roger P. G. van Gompel, Emiel Krahmer, Kees van Deemter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution


In referring to a target referent, speakers need to choose a set of properties that jointly distinguish it from its distractors. Current computational models view this as a search process in which the decision to include a property requires checking how many distractors it excludes. Thus, these models predict that identifying descriptions should take longer to produce the larger the distractor set is, independent of how many properties are required to identify a target. Since every property that is selected is checked, they also predict that distinguishing a target should take longer the more properties are required to distinguish it. This paper tests this prediction empirically, contrasting it with two alternative predictions based on models of visual search. Our results provide support for the predictions of computational models, suggesting a crucial difference between the mechanisms underlying reference production and object identification.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 2012 (CogSci 2012)
Subtitle of host publicationBuilding Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World
EditorsN. Miyake
Place of PublicationSapporo, Japan
PublisherCurran Associates
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9768318-8-4
ISBN (Print)9781622763047
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

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