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Differential effects of grammatical gender and gender inflection in bare noun production


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Daniela Paolieri, Department of Experimental Psychology and Behavioural Physiology, University of Granada, Campus de Cartuja s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain (e-mail:


In a new series of experiments with the picture–word interference paradigm, we replicated the grammatical gender interference effect in bare noun production in Italian: naming times are slower to picture–word noun pairs sharing the same gender. This effect is independent from the morphological transparency for gender, but responses are significantly slower when the distracters are transparent for gender. Overall, the pattern of results supports the assumption that in bare noun production grammatical gender is always selected, at least in languages like Italian. We assume that the differential effects of the nominal endings are due to the mechanisms involved in the recognition of grammatical gender of the distracter nouns which are sensitive to the morphological transparency for gender: lexical representation of transparent written words leads to a higher level of activation, thus resulting in stronger gender interference.