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This study reports equivalence in recognition for variable productions of spoken words that differ greatly in frequency. General American (GA) listeners participated in either a semantic priming or a false-memory task, each with three talkers with different accents: GA, New York City (NYC), and Southern Standard British English (BE). GA/BE induced strong semantic priming and low false recall rates. NYC induced no semantic priming but high false recall rates. These results challenge current theory and illuminate encoding-based differences sensitive to phonetically-cued talker variation. The findings highlight the central role of phonetic variation in the spoken word recognition process.


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