Andrew W. Ellis

Andrew W. Ellis
The University of York · Department of Psychology

About

201
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Publications

Publications (201)
Article
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Lord Randolph Churchill, father of Sir Winston and a significant politician in his own right, died on 24th January 1895. Articles in The Lancet and a major obituary in The Times identified the cause of death as 'general paralysis' (short for 'general paralysis of the insane'). At the time, the dominant view in European and American medicine was tha...
Book
This is a classic edition of Geoffrey Beattie’s and Andrew Ellis’ influential introduction to the psychology of human language and communication, now including a new reflective introduction from the authors. Drawing on elements from many sub-disciplines, including cognitive and social psychology, psycholinguistics and neuropsychology, the book offe...
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Verbal short-term memory (STM) is a crucial cognitive function central to language learning, comprehension and reasoning, yet the processes that underlie this capacity are not fully understood. In particular, although STM primarily draws on a phonological code, interactions between long-term phonological and semantic representations might help to s...
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The “hub and spoke model” of semantic representation suggests that the multimodal features of objects are drawn together by an anterior temporal lobe (ATL) “hub”, while modality-specific “spokes” capture perceptual/action features. However, relatively little is known about how these components are recruited through time to support object identifica...
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Do skilled readers of opaque and transparent orthographies make differential use of lexical and sublexical processes when converting words from print to sound? Two experiments are reported, which address that question, using effects of letter length on naming latencies as an index of the involvement of sublexical letter-sound conversion. Adult nati...
Book
This is a classic edition of Andrew Ellis' acclaimed introduction to the scientific study of reading, writing and dyslexia, which now includes a new introduction from the author. The book describes the remarkable skills of reading and writing - how we acquire them, how we exercise them as skilled readers and writers, and what can go wrong with them...
Article
This experiment investigated contextual diversity effects on novel word learning in English as a second language (L2). A group of advanced English speakers, whose native language was Spanish, participated in the study. Participants learned the meaning of real but obscure words that were embedded in either two or 12 different sentences and learned o...
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Hans and Peppina Zellenka featured prominently in Freud’s case study of the teenage girl “Dora,” in which they were anonymized as “the Ks.” Much has been written about Dora, but until recently, little has been known about the Ks. This article describes the upbringings of Hans and Peppina in the Jewish communities of Vienna and the South Tirol and t...
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We first review the empirical evidence indicating that age of acquisition (AoA) predicts which words remain accessible in acquired aphasia: words learned early in life are more likely to be retained than words learned later in life. Then we review the origins of the AoA effect and indicate why it is likely to be accompanied by a frequency effect. W...
Article
In three immediate serial recall (ISR) experiments we tested the hypothesis that interactive processing between semantics and phonology supports phonological coherence in verbal short-term memory (STM). Participants categorised spoken words in six-item lists as they were presented, according to their semantic or phonological properties, then repeat...
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Impairments of word recognition in Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been less widely investigated than impairments affecting word retrieval and production. In particular, we know little about what makes individual words easier or harder for patients with AD to recognize. We used a lexical selection task in which participants were shown sets of four it...
Article
Research has shown that direct current stimulation (tDCS) over left temporoparietal cortex – a region implicated in phonological processing – aids new word learning. The locus of this effect remains unclear since (i) experiments have not empirically separated the acquisition of phonological forms from lexical-semantic links and (ii) outcome measure...
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ABSTRACT Three experiments are reported analysing the processes by which adult readers of English learn new written words. Visual word learning was simulated by presenting short (4-letter) and longer (7-letter) nonwords repeatedly and observing the reduction in naming latencies and the convergence in reaction times (RTs) to shorter and longer items...
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We investigated word learning in university and college students with a diagnosis of dyslexia and in typically-reading controls. Participants read aloud short (4-letter) and longer (7-letter) nonwords as quickly as possible. The nonwords were repeated across 10 blocks, using a different random order in each block. Participants returned 7 days later...
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A general problem in studying children with developmental dyslexia is how to separate inefficiency in learning on the one hand from exposure to written texts on the other. To evaluate dyslexic children's learning abilities with graphemic materials, we tested their improvement in a condition that minimized previous experience with words (i.e., "nove...
Chapter
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Acquiring and Deploying VocabularyVocabulary Loss I: Normal AgeingVocabulary Loss II: AphasiaVocabulary Loss III: DementiaRecovery and Progressive LossHow and Why Does Age of Acquisition Affect Word Retrieval?Conclusions and Future DirectionsReferences
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In Italian, effects of age of acquisition (AoA) have been found in object naming, semantic categorization of words and lexical decision, but not in word naming (reading aloud). The lack of an AoA effect in Italian word naming is replicated in Experiment 1 which involved reading aloud two-syllable words which all have regular spelling-sound correspo...
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In recent years, a considerable number of studies have tried to establish which characteristics of objects and their names predict the responses of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the picture-naming task. The frequency of use of words and their age of acquisition (AoA) have been implicated as two of the most influential variables, with na...
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Age of acquisition is possibly the single most potent variable affecting lexical access. It is also a variable that determines the retention or loss of words in patients who have suffered brain injury, and in patients with Alzheimer's disease. But the norms of age of acquisition currently available have largely been obtained from university student...
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Four experiments are reported which assess repetition priming between parts of famous faces and whole faces. Their results are compared with the predictions of a computational model based on principles of interactive activation with competition (IAC). Experiment 1 showed that familiarity decisions to whole-face photographs were primed more by prior...
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Early acquired words are processed faster than later acquired words in lexical and semantic tasks. Demonstrating such age of acquisition (AoA) effects beyond reasonable doubt, and then investigating those effects empirically, is complicated by the natural correlation between AoA and other word properties such as frequency and imageability. In an ef...
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Natural reading development gradually builds up to the adult vocabulary over a period of years. This has an effect on lexical processing: early-acquired words are processed more quickly and more accurately than later-acquired words. We present a connectionist model of reading, learning to map orthography onto phonology to simulate this natural read...
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Right-handed participants respond more quickly and more accurately to written words presented in the right visual field (RVF) than in the left visual field (LVF). Previous attempts to identify the neural basis of the RVF advantage have had limited success. Experiment 1 was a behavioral study of lateralized word naming which established that the wor...
Article
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We report the case of a bilingual Italian-English aphasic patient, ED, who was very poor at categorising Italian nouns for grammatical gender in explicit, metalinguistic tasks, and was at chance when gender could not be inferred from the word's phonology. In contrast, ED showed a good ability to modify adjectives to match the gender of nouns in a t...
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Lambon Ralph, Sage, and Ellis (1996) described a patient, JO, who had impaired understanding of written words in the presence of normal comprehension of objects and spoken words.She was able to recognise letters and could differentiate written words from nonwords in lexical decision tasks. JO's ability to read aloud all types of words and nonwords...
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Marshall and Newcombe (1973) described three forms of acquired dyslexia. Two of them (surface and deep dyslexia) have been the subject of much subsequent discussion, but the third (visual dyslexia) has largely been ignored. We report the case of patient AB, who misread over 40% of words presented to her. The vast majority of her errors bore a close...
Article
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Studies of word production in patients with Alzheimer's disease have identified the age of acquisition of words as an important predictor of retention or loss, with early acquired words remaining accessible for longer than later acquired words. If, as proposed by current theories, effects of age of acquisition reflect the involvement of semantic re...
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We explain once again the distinction between the 'split fovea theory' and the 'bilateral projection theory', and consider the implications of the two theories for understanding the processing of centrally fixated words and faces.
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Split fovea theory proposes that when the eyes are fixated within a written word, visual information about the letters falling to the left of fixation is projected initially to the right cerebral hemisphere while visual information about the letters falling to the right of fixation is projected to the left cerebral hemisphere. The two parts of the...
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Research in cognitive psychology has shown that words, objects and faces learned early in life are recognized more fluently than similar items learned later. Experiment 1 shows that early acquired brand names are recognized more quickly than later acquired brands. Experiment 2 shows that the age of acquisition effect extends to accessing semantic k...
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Word learning is one of the core components of language acquisition. In this article, we provide an overview of the theme issue on word learning, describing some of the ways in which research in the area has progressed and diverged. In recent years, word learning has become central in a wider range of research areas, and is important to research on...
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Reading familiar words differs from reading unfamiliar non-words in two ways. First, word reading is faster and more accurate than reading of unfamiliar non-words. Second, effects of letter length are reduced for words, particularly when they are presented in the right visual field in familiar formats. Two experiments are reported in which right-ha...
Article
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It has often been suggested that problems of communication between the cerebral hemispheres are part of the profile of impairments in dyslexia. Henderson, Barca and Ellis (2007) obtained evidence in support of that suggestion in a study which compared the «bilateral advantage» in adult dyslexics and good readers. The term «bilateral advantage» refe...
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It is well established that the left inferior frontal gyrus plays a key role in the cerebral cortical network that supports reading and visual word recognition. Less clear is when in time this contribution begins. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG), which has both good spatial and excellent temporal resolution, to address this question. MEG data...
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Two experiments examined the effects of age of acquisition (AoA) and the gender of stimulus faces on familiarity decisions (Experiment 1) and gender decisions (Experiment 2) to the same set of famous and unfamiliar faces presented as whole faces, internal features or external features. In Experiment 1, familiarity decisions were faster to whole fac...
Article
This article has been withdrawn consistent with Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy). The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.
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In the age-of-acquisition (AoA) effect, an advantage for recognition and production is found for items learned early in life, as compared with items learned later. In this laboratory analogue, participants learned to categorize novel random checkerboard stimuli. Some stimuli were presented from the onset of training; others were introduced later. A...
Article
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Two experiments are reported in which participants made familiarity decisions (Is this face familiar or not?) or gender decisions (Is this face male or female?) to the same sets of faces presented as whole faces or as internal features only. The experimental items on which the analysis was performed were famous and unfamiliar male faces that differ...
Article
Semantic abilities deteriorate early in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their residual language is characterised by strong lexical effects such as the age of acquisition of words and their typicality. The anatomical bases of this early semantic degradation have not been fully explored. To clarify which neural structures, when atrophic, a...
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Participants report briefly-presented words more accurately when two copies are presented, one in the left visual field (LVF) and another in the right visual field (RVF), than when only a single copy is presented. This effect is known as the 'redundant bilateral advantage' and has been interpreted as evidence for interhemispheric cooperation. We in...
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Three experiments explore aspects of the dissociable neural subsystems theory of hemispheric specialisation proposed by Marsolek and colleagues, and in particular a study by [Deason, R. G., & Marsolek, C. J. (2005). A critical boundary to the left-hemisphere advantage in word processing. Brain and Language, 92, 251-261]. Experiment 1A showed that s...
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Ellis, Ansorge and Lavidor (2007) [Ellis, A.W., Ansorge, L., & Lavidor, M. (2007). Words, hemispheres, and dissociable subsystems: The effects of exposure duration, case alternation, priming and continuity of form on word recognition in the left and right visual fields. Brain and Language, 103, 292–303.] presented three experiments investigating th...
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Background: Perseverations are common in the speech of people with aphasia but the phenomenon has been the subject of relatively little investigation. We had the opportunity to study an aphasic patient who produced a large number of perseverations in naming, reading, and repetition tasks. Aims: To gain a better understanding of the origins and caus...
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The present study examines the role of orthographic complexity on Italian children’s word reading. Two experiments are reported in which elementary school children (3rd and 5th graders) read aloud words containing simple or contextual letter-sound conversion rules. In Experiment 1, both groups of participants read words containing contextual rules...
Article
One of the strongest predictors of the speed with which adults can name a pictured object is the age at which the object and its name are first learned. Age of acquisition also predicts the retention or loss of individual words following brain damage in conditions like aphasia and Alzheimer's disease. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) wa...
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Lexical availability measures the ease with which a word can be generated as a member of a given category. It has been developed by linguistic studies aimed, among other things, at devising a rational basis for selecting words for inclusion in dictionaries. The measure accounts for the number of people who generated a given word as a member of a de...
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Background: The characteristics of graphemic buffer disorder have been described by Miceli, Silveri, and Caramazza (1985) and Caramazza and Miceli (1990) and include a length effect in spelling words and nonwords, in both written and oral format. Error patterns typically consist of omissions, substitutions, additions, and movement errors. Recently,...
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Marshall (1977) constructed a plausible simulation of "anomic" speech out of the 100 most common words in the English language. He suggested that impaired access to lower frequency vocabulary might underlie anomic word finding difficulties. But he also noted that another factor, age of acquisition, may exert an influence, with anomic patients exper...
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Six patients with visuospatial neglect following right hemisphere lesions were given three tasks that assessed performance in areas of space ranging from extreme left to extreme right. A line bisection task required the patients to detect and bisect lines of four different lengths at seven left-right spatial locations, a number report task required...
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Twenty-two patients with a diagnosis of dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) and a comparison group of 22 age-matched individuals took part in an object decision and picture naming task. The age of acquisition (AoA) of the picture names was manipulated (25 early, 25 late). The comparison group identified significantly more objects as real than the...
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Eight experiments are reported that investigate the effects of age of acquisition (AoA) and typicality in three object processing tasks—object naming, object decision, and category verification. AoA influenced object naming under standard, immediate naming conditions and when participants had been pretrained on the pictures and their names, but the...
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Italian is a language with a transparent orthography in which printed words can be translated into the correct sequence of phonemes using a limited set of rules. The rules of letter-sound conversion are, however, simpler for some letters than for others: The pronunciations of sequences involving the letters c and g are determined by complex (i.e.,...
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This study presents a database of 500 words from five semantic categories: animals, body parts, furniture, clothing, and intelligence. Each category contains 100 words, and data on lexical availability, age of acquisition, imageability, typicality, concept familiarity, written word frequency, and word length in number of syllables are provided with...
Article
This study examined differences in the characteristics of words produced by healthy elderly controls and by patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a semantic fluency task (generating words from the categories of animals and fruit). Ninety-six AD patients (MMSE 13-29) and 40 controls matched for age and socio-cultural background completed a seman...
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Two experiments are reported exploring the effect of cAsE aLtErNaTiOn on lexical decisions to words and nonwords presented laterally or centrally. In line with previous research, Experiment 1 found that case alternation slowed lexical decision responses to words more in the right visual field (RVF) than in the left visual field (LVF). In Experiment...
Article
The split fovea theory proposes that visual word recognition of centrally presented words is mediated by the splitting of the foveal image, with letters to the left of fixation being projected to the right hemisphere (RH) and letters to the right of fixation being projected to the left hemisphere (LH). Two lexical decision experiments aimed to eluc...
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It has long been known that the number of letters in a word has more of an effect on recognition speed and accuracy in the left visual field (LVF) than in the right visual field (RVF) provided that the word is presented in a standard, horizontal format. After considering the basis of the length by visual field interaction two further differences be...
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We report the case of patient BH, who misspelled about half of the words she attempted and showed the characteristic features of "graphemic buffer disorder" (an effect of letter length on spelling accuracy, errors involving the substitution, omission, addition, and movement of letters that affect the middles more than the ends of words). Speech com...
Article
The effects of age of acquisition (AoA) in the first (L1) and second (L2) languages of Spanish–English bilinguals were explored using a translation judgement task in which participants decided whether or not pairs of words in the two languages were translations of each other (i.e., had the same meaning). Experiment 1 found an effect of second langu...
Article
Twenty Spanish patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 20 matched controls were given a battery of 17 tasks involving object recognition and the spoken and written perception and production of words and non-words. The AD patients were significantly impaired on nine of the tasks. Prominent among these were tasks that involve semantic pro...
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Recognition of faces or names is speeded by prior exposure. This repetition priming has been shown for familiarity judgements (familiar/unfamiliar), semantic judgements (British/American) and naming. However, no benefit of priming has ever been found onto a sex judgement. The absence of priming is normally explained by appealing to the fact that se...
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The patterns of activation invoked in the two cerebral hemispheres by written words may be different. Two lexical decision experiments investigated several aspects of such activation patterns. Experiment 1 tested phonological and orthographic priming in the hemispheres, manipulating two levels of phonological and two levels of orthographic similari...
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Two experiments are reported in which participants decided whether a single target letter presented below and to the left or right of fixation matched either of two probe letters presented above the fixation cross to the left and right. The level of matching required was either physical (A-A) or abstract (A-a). All three letters were presented eith...
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Covert face recognition has previously been thought to produce only very short-lasting effects. In this study we demonstrate that manipulating subjects' attentional load affects explicit, but not implicit memory for faces, and that implicit effects can persist over much longer intervals than is normally reported. Subjects performed letter-string ta...
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Effects of CaSe AlTeRnAtIoN were studied in two lateralized visual lexical decision experiments. We manipulated word length and letter case (UPPER, lower and MiXeD) in both English (Exp. 1, N=60) and Hebrew (Exp. 2, N=60). The previously reported visual field and word length interaction was found for upper and lower case presentation, but not for M...
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Sixteen Spanish aphasic patients named drawings of objects on three occasions. Multiple regression analyses were carried out on the naming accuracy scores. For the patient group as a whole, naming was affected by visual complexity, object familiarity, age of acquisition, and word frequency. The combination of variables predicted naming accuracy in...
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An important determinant of picture and word naming speed is the age at which the names were learned (age of acquisition). Two related interpretations of these effects are that they reflect differences between words in their cumulative frequency of use, or that they reflect differences in the amount of time early and lateacquired words have spent i...
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In a series of experiments, a visual search task was used to test the idea that biologically relevant threatening stimuli might be recognized very quickly or capture visuo-spatial attention. In Experiment 1, there was evidence for both faster detection and faster search rates for threatening animals than for plants. However, examination of the basi...
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Word frequency, age of acquisition (AoA), and imageability were combined with spelling-sound consistency, and their effects on word naming were examined. Frequency and AoA interacted with consistency (Experiments 1 and 2). Imageability did not (Experiment 3). Experiment 4 replicated Experiment 2 of E. Strain, K. E. Patterson, and M. S. Seidenberg's...
Article
Previous studies have reported an interaction between visual field (VF) and word length such that word recognition is affected more by length in the left VF (LVF) than in the right VF (RVF). A reanalysis showed that the previously reported effects of length were confounded with orthographic neighborhood size (N). In three experiments we manipulated...
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Two lexical decision experiments investigated orthographic neighborhood effects in the hemispheres. In the first experiment, lexical decision was affected by orthographic neighborhood size when stimuli were presented to the right hemisphere (RH) but not to the left hemisphere (LH). In a four-field masked-prime lexical decision task (Experiment 2),...
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The age of acquisition effect(faster recognition and production of earlierlearnt than later learnt words) is a robustfinding in both picture naming and written wordrecognition and naming. One possibleexplanation of this effect is the PhonologicalCompleteness Hypothesis of Brown and Watson[(1987) Memory & Cognition 15: 208–216], which proposes that...
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E. Strain, K. E. Patterson, and M. S. Seidenberg (2002) reported an effect of imageability and a Regularity X Imageability interaction in a regression analysis of naming latencies to 120 words. One of their items (couth) was named correctly by just 5 of their 24 participants, and its reaction time was an outlier on their distribution. When that sin...
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Four experiments explored the age of acquisition effects in the first and second languages of dominant Spanish-English bilinguals. In Experiment 1 (picture naming task) and Experiment 2 (lexical decision task), an age of acquisition effect was observed in a second language acquired after childhood as well as in the first language. The results sugge...