How Feedback in Interactive Activation Improves Perception
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How Feedback in Interactive Activation Improves Perception


We follow up on recent work demonstrating clear advantages of lexical-to-sublexical feedback in the TRACE model of spoken word recognition. The prior work compared accuracy and recognition times in TRACE with feedback on or off as progressively more noise was added to inputs. Recognition times were faster with feedback at every level of noise, and there was an accuracy advantage for feedback with noise added to inputs. However, a recent article claims that those results must be an artifact of converting activations to response probabilities, because feedback could only reinforce the “status quo.” That is, the claim is that given noisy inputs, feedback must reinforce all inputs equally, whether driven by signal or noise. We demonstrate that the feedback advantage replicates with raw activations. We also demonstrate that lexical feedback selectively reinforces lexically-coherent input patterns – that is, signal over noise – and explain how that behavior emerges naturally in interactive activation.

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