Effects of domain size during reference production in photo-realistic scenes

AbstractThe current study investigates how speakers are affected by the size of the visual domain during reference production. Previous research found that speech onset times increase along with the number of distractors that are visible, at least when speakers refer to non-salient target objects in simplified visual domains. This suggests that in the case of more distractors, speakers need more time to perform an object-by-object scan of all distractors that are visible. We present the results of a reference production experiment, to study if this pattern for speech onset times holds for photo-realistic scenes, and to test if the suggested viewing strategy is reflected directly in speakers’ eye movements. Our results show that this is indeed the case: we find (1) that speech onset times increase linearly as more distractors are present; (2) that speakers fixate the target relatively less often in larger do- mains; and (3) that larger domains elicit more fixation switches back and forth between the target and its distractors.

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