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The importance of first and last letter in words during sentence reading

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Abstract

Previous research suggests that the first and last letters of words are more important than the interior letters during reading. A question that has yet to be fully studied is why this is so. The current study reports four experiments in which participants read sentences containing words with transposed letters occurring at the beginning of the word, near the middle of the word, or at the end of the word. Experiments 1 and 2 also included some sentences where the spaces were removed and replaced with hash marks (#) to equate all letters on their degree of lateral interference from adjacent letter positions. In Experiment 3, equating was done by adding an additional space between all of the letters, so that no letter position received lateral interference from any letter. In Experiment 4, readers read sentences from right to left so that word-initial letters were presented furthest into the parafovea. The results indicate that although the first letter of a word has a privileged role over interior letters regardless of the degree of lateral interference it receives or its location in the parafovea (suggesting that it is intrinsically related to how we process, store, or access lexical information), the last letter of a word is more important than interior letters only when it receives less lateral interference or when its parafoveal location was close to the fovea (suggesting that it is privileged only due to low-level visual factors). These findings have important implications for current theories and computational models regarding the roles of various letter positions in reading.

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... Although letter position processing is more flexible than letter identity processing, there is indeed letter position processing, and most of the evidence come from the comparison between transposed pseudowords and base words (Johnson and Dunne, 2012;Johnson and Eisler, 2012). Moreover, numerous studies have shown that external letters-especially the initial letter (Evett and Humphreys, 1981;Aschenbrenner et al., 2017)-have more of an advantage than inner letters in position processing (Jordan et al., 2003;Guérard et al., 2012). ...
... In letter detection tasks, the response to external letters of transposed pseudowords (especially involving the initial letter) was faster and more accurate than the response to the inner letters of the transposed pseudowords (Guérard et al., 2012). Similarly, in studies on sentence reading in Latin script with transposed pseudowords, the reading process was more significantly disrupted when letters were externally transposed, especially initial letters (White et al., 2008;Johnson and Eisler, 2012). ...
... Which kind of factor is more important? Johnson and Eisler (2012) designed four experiments to explore this. The participants read sentences containing normal words, first-two-letter transposed pseudowords, inner-two-letter transposed pseudowords, and lasttwo-letter transposed pseudowords. ...
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Numerous studies indicate that letter position processing is important for word recognition; also, the position processing of external letters (especially the initial letter) is better than that of inner letters in the Roman script. Similarly, the position processing of characters is critical in Chinese word recognition. However, the position processing pattern of characters within Chinese words is still understudied. Therefore, using a single-presentation lexical decision task with 79 university students in China, we conducted two experiments with three- and four-character words to explore this issue. The results revealed clear character position processing with transposed pseudowords. Crucially, we identified a sequence effect in Chinese character position processing within words, directly supporting the hypothesis that character-based processing occurs with Chinese words. We also discussed other possibilities in Chinese character position processing.
... sentences containing transposed-letter stimuli (e.g., external vs. internal transpositions, as in jugde vs. judeg). In this latter setup, the more wordlike the transposed-letter stimulus is, the lesser the reading cost (Blythe et al., 2014; see also Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Perea, Jiménez et al., 2012;Rayner et al., 2006;White et al., 2008). ...
... While letter position encoding is somewhat flexible in alphabetic writing systems, not all letter positions are equally important. Previous research has consistently shown that external letters are more important than internal letters for letter order encoding ; Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Milledge et al., 2021;Rayner et al., 2006;White et al., 2008). The first study on letter position coding (Bruner & 8) showed that participants had more difficulty construing a tachistoscopic jumbled word when the initial letters were transposed (e.g., vaiation) than when two internal letters were transposed (e.g., avitation). ...
... The presence of differential effects across positions (e.g., external vs. internal) suggests that this paradigm is informative to study the character order encoding in Chinese reading. Indeed, this same paradigm had previously been used in studies of English reading (Rayner et al., 2006; see also Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Pagán et al., 2021;White et al., 2008). In the future, more research is needed to investigate how character order is encoded with boundary paradigms. ...
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Previous research in alphabetic languages has shown that both position (external, internal) and distance (adjacent, nonadjacent) modulate letter position encoding during reading. To examine the generality of this pattern for a comprehensive model of word recognition and reading, we examined these effects during Chinese reading (i.e., an unspaced logographic language). Participants in two experiments read intact sentences and sentences containing transposed-character nonwords while their eye movements were monitored. Experiment 1 manipulated the distance between the transposed characters (adjacent vs. nonadjacent) within three-character words. Reading times were longer when nonadjacent characters were transposed compared with adjacent characters. Also, for adjacent character transpositions, a word-beginning character transposition led to longer reading times than a word-ending character transposition. Experiment 2 manipulated orthogonally character transposition distance (adjacent vs. nonadjacent) and position within four-character words, including the beginning versus the last character. Reading times were longer when the transposition involves the first character than when involves the ending character. Fixation durations on the target regions in the nonadjacent character transposition condition were longer than those in the adjacent character transposition condition. Taken together, these results reveal robust effects of both the initial character position and transposed-character distance in Chinese reading. Thus, the privileged status of the initial character is intrinsically related to how we access lexical information. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Moreover, the findings indicated that the orthographic similarity, of pseudohomophone previews and target words was important, particularly for children compared to skilled adult readers. Past research has shown that the first letter plays a vital role in skilled adult readers' ability to lexically identify a word, both under direct fixation and, critically, during parafoveal pre-processing (e.g., Briihl & Inhoff, 1995;Inhoff, 1987Inhoff, , 1989Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Johnson et al., 2007;Milledge et al., 2021;White et al., 2008). Johnson et al. (2007) manipulated the parafoveal preview of internal versus final letters (Experiment 2) and initial versus final letters (Experiment 3). ...
... Whilst the current results provide a detailed account of dyslexic parafoveal processing during silent sentence reading, the parafoveal manipulations were deliberately constrained to the initial letters. As discussed, the initial letters of a word are intrinsically important (Johnson et al., 2007;Johnson & Dunne, 2012;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Tiffin-Richards & Schroeder, 2015;White et al., 2008) and this may be due to the requirement for sequential activation of phonological codes to activate phonological representations during reading. Therefore, for dyslexic readers, who have under-specified lexical representations due to difficulties in mapping phonology to orthography (e.g., Snowling, 1995;Stanovich, 1988), letter position information may be particularly important. ...
... The size of the TL effect has been found to be greater when the manipulated letters are internal (29 ms) than when they are external (9 ms; Perea & Lupker, 2003a, 2003b. This is supported by evidence from silent sentence reading, where the cost associated with reading directly fixated TL strings decreased for internal letter manipulations compared with those involving initial or final letters (Johnson, 2007;Johnson & Dunne, 2012;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;White et al., 2008; see also Briihl & Inhoff, 1995;Jordan et al., 2013;Plummer & Rayner, 2012;Rayner et al., 1980;Tiffin-Richards & Schroeder, 2015). The current findings suggest that disrupting the initial letters of a parafoveally presented word has a greater impact on dyslexic readers who appear to rely heavily upon the correct letter position of these initial letters to aid in lexical activation. ...
Article
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During parafoveal processing, skilled readers encode letter identity independently of letter position (Johnson et al., 2007). In the current experiment, we examined orthographic parafoveal processing in readers with dyslexia. Specifically, the eye movements of skilled readers and adult readers with dyslexia were recorded during a boundary paradigm experiment (Rayner, 1975). Parafoveal previews were either identical to the target word (e.g., nearly), a transposed‐letter preview (e.g., enarly), or a substituted‐letter preview (e.g., acarly). Dyslexic and non‐dyslexic readers demonstrated orthographic parafoveal preview benefits during silent sentence reading and both reading groups encoded letter identity and letter position information parafoveally. However, dyslexic adults showed, that very early in lexical processing, during parafoveal preview, the positional information of a word's initial letters were encoded less flexibly compared to during skilled adult reading. We suggest that dyslexic readers are less able to benefit from correct letter identity information (i.e., in the letter transposition previews) due to the lack of direct mapping of orthography to phonology. The current findings demonstrate that dyslexic readers show consistent and dyslexic‐specific reading difficulties in foveal and parafoveal processing during silent sentence reading.
... Adults pre-process orthography (a word's printed form), for example displaying faster reading times after an orthographically similar preview is available compared to an orthographically dissimilar preview (e.g., cahc vs. picz as preview for cake; Balota, Pollatsek, & Rayner, 1985). The external letters of a word are particularly important for skilled adult readers in both parafoveal pre-processing (Johnson, Perea, & Rayner, 2007) and during subsequent direct fixation (Johnson & Eisler, 2012). Manipulations that affect the first or final letter of a word have a disproportionately large cost to reading times, relative to manipulations of internal letters, with the first letter seeming to play a particularly important role (e.g., Briihl & Inhoff, 1995;Inhoff, 1989a,b;White, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2008). ...
... It may be that the finding of a first-letter bias depends on the exact nature of the experimental manipulation. Most research has looked at letter transpositions, not substitutions (e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Rayner, White, Johnson, & Liversedge, 2006b;White et al., 2008). Importantly, though, Johnson et al. (Experiment 3;2007), showed that both firstletter transposition and substitution previews were detrimental to reading times. ...
... Alternatively, it could be more cognitively based, in that identification of the first letter of a word could drive the process of lexical identification. Certainly, Johnson and Eisler's (2012) research, with adults, suggests this could be the case. For example, they found that when lateral masking was equated b y r e p l a c i n g i n t e r -w o r d s p a c e s w i t h # s ( e . ...
Article
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Although previous research has demonstrated that for adults external letters of words are more important than internal letters for lexical processing during reading, no comparable research has been conducted with children. This experiment explored, using the boundary paradigm during silent sentence reading, whether parafoveal pre-processing in English is more affected by the manipulation of external letters or internal letters, and whether this differs between skilled adult and beginner child readers. Six previews were generated: identity (e.g., monkey); external letter manipulations where either the beginning three letters of the word were substituted (e.g., rackey) or the last three letters of the word were substituted (e.g., monhig); internal letter manipulations; e.g., machey, mochiy); and an unrelated control condition (e.g., rachig). Results indicate that both adults and children undertook pre-processing of words in their entirety in the parafovea, and that the manipulation of external letters in preview was more harmful to participants' parafoveal pre-processing than internal letters. The data also suggest developmental change in the time course of pre-processing, with children's pre-processing delayed compared to that of adults. These results not only provide further evidence for the importance of external letters to parafoveal processing and lexical identification for adults, but also demonstrate that such findings can be extended to children.
... Prior research on the topic of lexical processing has shown that the exterior letters of words (i.e. first and last letters) occupy a more important position during processing than the interior letters (Johnson & Eisler, 2012). In addition, any transposition involving the exterior letter positions disrupts word reading to a greater extent than within-word transposition of letters. ...
... Research has also shown that a words' exterior letters have a processing advantage over the other letters and when a participant is primed with a word's exterior vs. interior letters, his/her recognition of the word results in faster naming latencies (Grainger & van Heuven, 2003;McCusker, Gough, & Bias, 1981), faster identification (for e.g., identification of letter T will be faster in the jumbled text 'TMLRF' & 'LMFRT' as compared to its identification in 'LMTRF'; Hammond & Green, 1982;Whitney, 2001), higher recall (Humphreys, Evett, Quinlan, Besner, & Coltheart, 1987) and shorter lexical decision times (Foster, 1976;Johnson & Eisler, 2012). For example, to illustrate such a lexical decision task, if participants are primed with, 'B_______r' (the exterior letters of the brand Budweiser) then their reaction time to the brand name Budweiser will be faster than if they are primed with ' __dweis__' or '_udweis__' (the interior letters of the brand Budweiser). ...
... The current paper aimed to answer some of the questions presented above and sought to establish whether consumers can differentiate (and at what speed) an original logo from its counterfeit version created by transposing or substituting the first and last letters of a brand name. Past research in lexical processing has demonstrated the importance of first and last letter positions in words' recognition and processing (Johnson & Eisler, 2012). The current paper demonstrates that this pattern is also true in the context of counterfeit brand logos. ...
Article
Purpose: Counterfeiting is a menace in the emerging markets and many successful brands are falling prey to it. Counterfeit brands not only deceive consumers but also fuel a demand for lower priced replicas, both of which can devalue the bona-fide brand. But can consumers accurately identify a counterfeit logo? This paper explores this question and examines the accuracy and speed with which a consumer can identify a counterfeit (vs. original) logo. Design/methodology/approach: Seven popular brand logos were altered by transposing and substituting the first and last letters of the logotypes. Consumers then classified the logos as counterfeit (vs. original) across two experiments. Findings: Participants were faster and more accurate in identifying a counterfeit logo when the first letter (vs. last letter) of a logotype was manipulated, thus revealing last letter manipulations of a brand’s logotype to be more deceptive. Research limitations/implications: This paper comments only on the manipulation of logotypes but not of logo symbols. Similarly, findings may not be generalizable across languages which are read from right to left. Practical implications: Counterfeit trade is already a multibillion dollar industry. Understanding the key perceptual differentiators between a counterfeit (vs. original) logo can be insightful for both consumers and firms alike. Originality/Value: Research available on objective measures of similarities (vs. dissimilarities) between counterfeit (vs. original) brand logos is limited. This paper contributes by examining the ability of consumers to discriminate between counterfeit (vs. original) logos at different levels of visual similarity.
... suggests that in word recognition, the first and last letters are more important than the other letter positions (Johnson & Eisler, 2012). In studies 2a and 2b we evaluated this idea in the context of counterfeit brand logotypes. ...
... Similar results have been reported by White, Johnson, Liversedge, and Rayner (2008) who demonstrated that word external transpositions, involving the word's first two letters or last two letters (e.g., 'rpoblem' and 'problme' in the word 'problem') disrupt reading speed more than internal transpositions. One of the proposed explanations for the importance of the first and last letters is that they are always located next to a space which provides them with a higher perceptual salience than the other F i n a l A u t h o r ' s V e r s i o n letters of a word (see also Johnson & Eisler, 2012, Rayner, Pollatsek, Ashby, & Clifton Jr, 2012. ...
... Prior research has also shown the importance of the first and last letters of a word in its identification (Johnson & Eisler, 2012). These letter positions seem more important because they are always located next to a space, which provides them with a higher perceptual saliency, with lesser interference (and crowding) from the nearby letters (Grainger, Tydgat, & Issele, 2010;Levi, 2008;Pelli et al., 2007). ...
Article
Purpose With trade amounting to more than US$400bn, counterfeiting is already affecting many successful brands. Often, consumers are deceived into buying fake products due to the visual similarity between fake and original brand logos. This paper aims to explore the varying forms of fraudulent imitation of original brand logotypes (operationalized at the level of logotype transposition), which can aid in the detection of a counterfeit brand. Design/methodology/approach Across two studies, this research tested how well consumers can differentiate counterfeit from original logos of well-known brands both explicitly and implicitly. Seven popular brand logos were altered to create different levels of visual dissimilarity and participants were required to discriminate the logos as fake or genuine. Findings Results demonstrate that although consumers can explicitly discriminate fake logos with a high degree of accuracy, the same is not true under conditions in which logos are presented very briefly (tapping participants’ implicit or automatic logo recognition capabilities), except when the first and last letters of the logotype are substituted. Originality/value A large body of research on counterfeit trade focuses on the individual or cross-cultural differences behind the prevalence of counterfeit trade. There is limited research exploring the ability of a consumer to correctly identify a fake logo, based on its varying similarity with the original logotype; this paper addresses this gap. Given that many of the purchase decisions are often made automatically, identifying key implicit differentiators that can help a consumer recognize a fake logo should be informative to both practitioners and academics.
... The present study focuses on letter position coding during natural reading, by examining the reading of sentences in which some words have transposed letters. For young adults reading English, several studies show, in line with the notion of flexible letter position coding, that comprehension is good for sentences containing TL nonwords, although letter transpositions are associated with longer reading times (Blythe, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2014;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Rayner, White, Johnson, & Liversedge, 2006;White, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2008; see also : Johnson, 2009;Johnson & Dunne, 2012;Velan & Frost, 2007). Such studies demonstrate flexibility in letter position encoding during natural reading, and that words containing letter transpositions are recognized rapidly and sentences containing these words readily understood. ...
... Importantly, studies with young adults have shown that not all letter positions contribute equally to the process of word recognition. Numerous studies reveal a privileged role for the external letters in words (Carr, Lehmkuhle, Kottas, Astor-Stetson, & Arnold, 1976;Forster, 1976;Guérard, Saint-Aubin, Poirier, & Demetriou, 2012;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Jordan, Thomas, Patching, & Scott-Brown, 2003;Rayner & Kaiser, 1975) and especially the first letter (Aschenbrenner, Balota, Weigand, Scaltritti, & Besner, 2017; but see Winskel, Ratitamkul, & Perea, 2018). Similarly, studies of transposed letter effects on sentence reading (Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Johnson, Perea, & Rayner, 2007;Rayner, White, et al., 2006;White et al., 2008) show that normal reading is disrupted more when transpositions are made at exterior rather than interior letter locations in words, with transpositions of the beginning letters most disruptive of all. ...
... Numerous studies reveal a privileged role for the external letters in words (Carr, Lehmkuhle, Kottas, Astor-Stetson, & Arnold, 1976;Forster, 1976;Guérard, Saint-Aubin, Poirier, & Demetriou, 2012;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Jordan, Thomas, Patching, & Scott-Brown, 2003;Rayner & Kaiser, 1975) and especially the first letter (Aschenbrenner, Balota, Weigand, Scaltritti, & Besner, 2017; but see Winskel, Ratitamkul, & Perea, 2018). Similarly, studies of transposed letter effects on sentence reading (Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Johnson, Perea, & Rayner, 2007;Rayner, White, et al., 2006;White et al., 2008) show that normal reading is disrupted more when transpositions are made at exterior rather than interior letter locations in words, with transpositions of the beginning letters most disruptive of all. One explanation why external letters are particularly important is that they are easier to encode because they are less crowded (e.g., Grainger, Tydgat, & Isselé, 2010;Levi, 2008;Pelli, Tillman, Freeman, Su, Berger, & Majaj, 2007). ...
Article
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It is well-established that young adults encode letter position flexibly during natural reading. However, given the visual changes that occur with normal aging, it is important to establish whether letter position coding is equivalent across adulthood. In 2 experiments, young (18–25 years) and older (65� years) adults’ were recorded while reading sentences with words containing transposed adjacent letters. Transpositions occurred at beginning (rpoblem), internal (porblem), or end (problme) locations in words. In Experiment 1, these transpositions were present throughout reading. By comparison, Experiment 2 used a gaze-contingent paradigm such that once the reader’s gaze moved past a word containing a transposition, this word was shown correctly and did not subsequently change. Both age groups showed normal levels of comprehension for text including words with transposed letters. The pattern of letter transposition effects on eye movements was similar for the young and older adults, with greater increases in reading times when external relative to internal letters were transposed. In Experiment 1, however, effects of word beginning transpositions during rereading were larger for the older adults. In Experiment 2 there were no interactions, confirming that letter position coding is similar for both age groups at least during first-pass processing of words. These findings show that flexibility in letter position encoding during the initial processing of words is preserved across adulthood, although the interaction effect in rereading in Experiment 1 also suggests that older readers may use more stringent postlexical verification processes, for which the accuracy of word beginning letters is especially important.
... Although previous research has been conducted on how reading is affected by inter-word spacing (Cui, Drieghe, Bai, Yan, & Liversedge, 2014;Drieghe, Brysbaert, & Desmet, 2005;Jacobs, 1987;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Malt & Seamon, 1978;McGowan, White, & Paterson, 2015;Morris, Rayner, & Pollatsek, 1990;Paterson & Jordan, 2010;Perea & Acha, 2009;Pollatsek & Rayner, 1982;Rayner, Fischer, & Pollatsek, 1998), inter-letter spacing (Paterson & Jordan, 2010;Perea, Moret-Tatay, & Gomez, 2011;Van Overshelde & Healy, 2005;Yu et al., 2007), interline spacing (Van Overshlelde & Healy, 2005), and having punctuation vs. not (Hill & Murray, 2000;Hirotani, Frazier, & Rayner, 2006;Pynte & Kennedy, 2007), none has investigated the effects of spacing following punctuation marks on reading performance. The aim of the present study was to do just that. ...
... Ultimately, research on the effects of inter-word spacing and word boundary information has demonstrated that space information is extracted early in the reading process (Pollatsek & Rayner, 1982) and plays a major role in helping readers identify words and direct eye movements (Perea & Acha, 2009;Rayner et al., 1998). These conclusions are based on the finding that readers experience difficulty reading text where inter-word spaces have been filled in with another symbol (Epelboim, Booth, Ashkenazy, Taleghani, & Steinman, 1997;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Malt & Seamon, 1978;McConkie & Rayner, 1975;McGowan, White, Jordan, & Paterson, 2014;Morris et al., 1990;Pollatsek & Rayner, 1982;Rayner et al., 1998;Spragins, Lefton, & Fischer, 1976) or word boundaries have been removed altogether (Drieghe, Fitzsimmons, & Liversedge, 2017;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Paterson & Jordan, 2010;Perea & Acha, 2009;Rayner et al., 1998;Spragins et al., 1976). Studies that have explored the effects of increasing the inter-word spacing have shown mixed effects. ...
... Ultimately, research on the effects of inter-word spacing and word boundary information has demonstrated that space information is extracted early in the reading process (Pollatsek & Rayner, 1982) and plays a major role in helping readers identify words and direct eye movements (Perea & Acha, 2009;Rayner et al., 1998). These conclusions are based on the finding that readers experience difficulty reading text where inter-word spaces have been filled in with another symbol (Epelboim, Booth, Ashkenazy, Taleghani, & Steinman, 1997;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Malt & Seamon, 1978;McConkie & Rayner, 1975;McGowan, White, Jordan, & Paterson, 2014;Morris et al., 1990;Pollatsek & Rayner, 1982;Rayner et al., 1998;Spragins, Lefton, & Fischer, 1976) or word boundaries have been removed altogether (Drieghe, Fitzsimmons, & Liversedge, 2017;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Paterson & Jordan, 2010;Perea & Acha, 2009;Rayner et al., 1998;Spragins et al., 1976). Studies that have explored the effects of increasing the inter-word spacing have shown mixed effects. ...
Article
The most recent edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) Manual states that two spaces should follow the punctuation at the end of a sentence. This is in contrast to the one-space requirement from previous editions. However, to date, there has been no empirical support for either convention. In the current study, participants performed (1) a typing task to assess spacing usage and (2) an eye-tracking experiment to assess the effect that punctuation spacing has on reading performance. Although comprehension was not affected by punctuation spacing, the eye movement record suggested that initial processing of the text was facilitated when periods were followed by two spaces, supporting the change made to the APA Manual. Individuals’ typing usage also influenced these effects such that those who use two spaces following a period showed the greatest overall facilitation from reading with two spaces.
... Another plausible theory explaining the processing advantage of the PVL is that it is due to the importance of the beginnings of words and, in particular, the first letter of a word in lexical identification (Deutsch & Rayner, 1999;Farid & Grainger, 1996;O'Regan, 1981;Paterson & Jordan, 2010). Previous research shows that greater reading difficulty occurs when beginning letters are manipulated compared to letters at other positions (Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Jordan, Thomas, Patching, & Scott-Brown, 2003;Rayner & Kaiser, 1975;White, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2008). Furthermore, in many languages, the letters at the beginnings of words provide more constraint on the number of possible lexical candidates than letters at other positions (Clark & O'Regan, 1999;Farid & Grainger, 1996;Grainger & Jacobs, 1993). ...
... This lexical constraint that beginning letters provide can affect fixation durations (Lima & Inhoff, 1985) and landing positions (Everatt & Underwood, 1992;Hyönä, Niemi, & Underwood, 1989;Underwood, Clews, & Everatt, 1990; but see Rayner & Morris, 1992, for a failure to replicate). There is also ample evidence to suggest that readers gain useful information from the beginning letters of words prior to fixation, during parafoveal processing (Briihl & Inhoff, 1995; this benefit is not solely driven by the proximity of these letters to the fovea (Johnson & Eisler, 2012). Landing between the beginning and middle of words, then, could offer a processing advantage because it shifts attention toward the most important part of the word in terms of lexical access. ...
... Given this lack of a saccadic range effect, and that regressions likely occur when there is difficulty in processing (e.g., Frazier & Rayner, 1982), it seems that the strategies of eye movement control and fixation patterns seen during regressive eye movements may not reflect those of fluent reading. Finally, other attempts to identify the cause of the PVL have used text manipulations that were perhaps too unfamiliar and jarring for the reader, such as using a backward sentence presentation method (Inhoff, 1990;Johnson & Eisler, 2012) or manipulating text spacing, such as using unspaced text (Perea & Acha, 2009;Rayner et al., 1998) or dramatically increased spacing (Paterson & Jordan, 2010). Thus, none of these methods have been able to successfully parse out the possible effects of oculomotor error from the possibility of processing advantages conferred in this location. ...
Article
The preferred viewing location (PVL) is a robust finding in research on reading that when fixating on a word during normal sentence reading, readers tend to land slightly to the left of the center of the word. This is in contrast to the optimal viewing location (OVL) in single word recognition, which falls at the center of the word. The current study outlines the history of the PVL in eye-tracking since Rayner's 1979 original study, documenting the origins of these conflicting theoretical explanations. In addition, a new study is reported examining whether the PVL can be attributed solely to oculomotor error or a processing advantage by using an experimental manipulation that separates tracking direction (left-to-right reading) and landing position (left-to-right within a word). Sentences were presented to participants from the top to the bottom of a computer screen with one word per line while eye movements were recorded. In this presentation format, readers continued to land to the left of center, suggesting that the PVL in normal reading is not solely due to oculomotor error.
... By comparing fixation times on the target word as a function of the preview condition, it is possible to determine the type of information that is pre-processed in the parafovea. A large body of evidence has showed that skilled adult readers pre-process information regarding word spacing (Epelboim, Booth, Ashkenazy, Taleghani, 1997;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Johnson, Perea & Rayner, 2007;Malt & Seamon, 1978;McConkie & Rayner, 1975;Morris, Rayner & Pollatsek, 1990;Perea & Acha, 2009a; Pollatsek & Rayner, 1982;Rayner, Fisher & Pollatsek, 1998;Spragins, Lefton & Fisher, 1976;White, Johnson, Liversedge & Rayner, 2008), word length (Inhoff, Starr, Liu & Wang, 1998;Inhoff, Eiter, Radach & Juhasz, 2003), orthography (at least partially; Binder, ...
... This effect has been observed both in adults (e.g., Andrews, 1996;Acha & Perea, 2008b;2010;Bruner & O'Dowd, 1958;Chambers, 1979;Christianson, Johnson & Rayner, 2005; Foster, Davis, Schoknecht & Carter, 1987; García-Orza, Perea & Muñoz, 2010;Holmes & Ng, 1993;Johnson & Dunne, 2012;Kinoshita & Norris, 2009;Lupker, Perea, & Davis, 2008;O'Connor & Forster, 1981;Perea & Acha, 2009b;Perea & Carreiras, 2006a, 2006b, 2006cPerea & Lupker, 2003a, 2003bPerea, Abu Mallouh & Carreiras, 2010;Perea, Duñabeitia & Carreiras, 2008;Perea & Pérez, 2009;Perea, Winskel & Ratitamkul, 2012;Schoonbaert & Grainger, 2004;Taft & Graan, 1998;Velan & Frost, 2011) and in children (Acha & Perea, 2008a;Castles, Davis, Cavalot & Forster, 2007;Kohnen & Castles, 2013;Lété & Fayol, 2013;Paterson, Read, McGowan & Jordan, 2015;Perea & Estévez, 2008;Tiffin-Richards & Schroeder, 2015). Transposed letter effects have also been reported for silent sentence reading (see Acha & Perea, 2008b;Blythe, Johnson, Liversedge & Rayner, 2014;Johnson, 2007Johnson, , 2009Johnson & Dunne, 2012;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Johnson, Perea & Rayner, 2007;Perea, Nakatani & van Leeuwen, 2011;Rayner, White, Johnson & Liversedge, 2006;Tiffin-Richards & Schroeder, 2015;White, Johnson, Liversedge & Rayner, 2008). ...
... Similarly, evidence from silent sentence reading has shown that the cost associated with reading directly fixated transposed letter strings decreased for internal letter manipulations compared to those involving initial or final letters (Rayner et al., 2006); specifically, the greatest cost to reading times occurred in those sentences where initial letters were transposed in comparison to internal letters (Jonhson, 2007;Johnson & Dunne, 2012;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;White et al., 2008; see also Briihl & Inhoff, 1995;Jordan, Thomas, Patching & Scott-Brown, 2003;Plummer & Rayner, 2012;Rayner et al., 1980;Tiffin-Richards & Schroeder, 2015). Finally, Johnson et al. (2007) used the boundary paradigm to manipulate the parafoveal preview of internal versus final letters (Experiment 2) and initial versus final letters (Experiment 3). ...
Article
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Although previous research has shown that letter position information for the first letter of a parafoveal word is encoded less flexibly than internal word beginning letters (Johnson, Perea & Rayner, 2007; White et al., 2008), it is not clear how positional encoding operates over the initial trigram in English. This experiment explored the preprocessing of letter identity and position information of a parafoveal word's initial trigram by adults and children using the boundary paradigm during normal sentence reading. Seven previews were generated: Identity (captain); transposed letter and substituted letter nonwords in Positions 1 and 2 (acptain-imptain); 1 and 3 (pactain-gartain), and 2 and 3 (cpatain-cgotain). Results showed a transposed letter effect (TLE) in Position 13 for gaze duration in the pretarget word; and TLE in Positions 12 and 23 but not in Position 13 in the target word for both adults and children. These findings suggest that children, similar to adults, extract letter identity and position information flexibly using a spatial coding mechanism; supporting isolated word recognition models such as SOLAR (Davis, 1999, 2010) and SERIOL (Whitney, 2001) models. (PsycINFO Database Record
... Often, both the first and the last letters are investigated in studies of word reading (e.g., Jordan et al., 2003a;Jordan et al., 2003b;McCusker et al., 1981). However, some of the studies discussed earlier did show that the first letter is even more important than the last letter (e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012); thus, comparing first versus last letter positions is an important direction for future research aiming to understand how letter positions are differentially weighted in the mechanisms behind word familiarity. ...
... Another direction for future research is to investigate why exterior letter positions are especially important in word familiarity. One possibility might relate to a point by Johnson and Eisler (2012), who argued that first and last letters only have one adjacent letter, while interior letters have two adjacent letters. This difference in lateral interference could mean that exterior letters are processed more efficiently than interior letters. ...
Article
Previous research has suggested a role of letter location information in familiarity-detection that occurs with word stimuli, but no studies have yet investigated whether certain letter positions are weighted more heavily in the feature-based mechanism behind word familiarity-detection. Based on psycholinguistic research suggesting that first and last letters are weighted more heavily than interior letters when it comes to reading words, we investigated whether first and last letters carry more weight in the mechanism behind word familiarity that results from feature familiarization in a list-learning paradigm. In two experiments, participants studied word fragments (e.g., RA_ _ _ _OP) and later rated the familiarity of complete words (e.g., RAINDROP). We varied whether the first and last or only interior letters were present at study. Participants consistently rated test words whose fragments went unidentified at study as more familiar when the first and last letters had been studied than when only interior letters had been studied. This suggests that first and last letters contribute more strongly to the word familiarity signal than interior letters.
... Here, the diminished visual acuity is in fact compensated by a reduction of crowding interference because of the reduced number of flanking characters for letters in the first or final position (e.g., Marzouki & Grainger, 2014;Mewhort & Campbell, 1978;Stevens & Grainger, 2003;Tydgat & Grainger, 2009). Over and above these major driving forces in letter identification, researchers consistently reported a first-letter advantage (e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Scaltritti & Balota, 2013;Tydgat & Grainger, 2009). This has been explained as stemming from low-level perceptual adaptation of the receptive fields of letter detectors (e.g., Chanceaux & Grainger, 2012;Grainger, Tydgat, & Isselé, 2010;Tydgat & Grainger, 2009) and/or visuo-spatial attention (Aschenbrenner, Balota, Weigand, Scaltritti, & Besner, 2017;Scaltritti, Dufau, & Grainger, 2018). ...
... Crucially, the impact of relative letter visibility suggests that it is not just a common underlying factor, such as the ability to identify any kind of visual object in the parafovea, that is driving the correlations. Furthermore, the position-specific correlations provide further evidence for the crucial role played by initial letters in word identification (e.g., Aschenbrenner et al., 2017;Chanceaux & Grainger, 2012;Grainger et al., 2010;Jayawardena & Winskel, 2016;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Scaltritti et al., 2018;Scaltritti & Balota, 2013;Tydgat & Grainger, 2009;Winskel, Perea, & Peart, 2014;Winskel, Ratitamkul, & Perea, 2018). ...
Article
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This article is available (open access) at https://rdcu.be/chc9I. We investigated the extent to which accuracy in word identification in foveal and parafoveal vision is determined by variations in the visibility of the component letters of words. To do so we measured word identification accuracy in displays of three three-letter words, one on fixation and the others to the left and right of the central word. We also measured accuracy in identifying the component letters of these words when presented at the same location in a context of three three-letter nonword sequences. In the word identification block, accuracy was highest for central targets and significantly greater for words to the right compared with words to the left. In the letter identification block, we found an extended W-shaped function across all nine letters, with greatest accuracy for the three central letters and for the first and last letter in the complete sequence. Further analyses revealed significant correlations between average letter identification per nonword position and word identification at the corresponding position. We conclude that letters are processed in parallel across a sequence of three three-letter words, hence enabling parallel word identification when letter identification accuracy is high enough.
... However, the lack of an interaction in this study is likely due to the fact that Thai readers have developed efficient mechanisms for word segmentation in the absence of interword spacing, plus the fact that the presence of interword spaces is not natural for Thai readers. More directly related to the present study is the work of Johnson and Eisler (2012), who investigated effects of letter transpositions and interword spacing in English. The key results are those obtained in their Experiment 3, where rather than replacing interword spaces with filler stimuli, the typical greater spacing between words compared with inter-letter spacing was cancelled by increasing inter-letter spacing. ...
... In both experiments we found evidence that the presence of letter transpositions had a greater negative impact on reading unspaced text compared with normally spaced text. This is in line with prior findings in English obtained in conditions where, rather than reducing inter-word spacing, inter-letter spacing was increased to match that of inter-word spacing (Johnson & Eisler, 2012). The interaction between the spacing manipulation and the presence vs. absence of letter transpositions was seen in the total viewing times and skipping rates for the critical target words, as well as in overall sentence reading times and participants' self-evaluated reading difficulty in Experiment 1, and in reading aloud speed and accuracy in Experiment 2. We interpret these findings as reflecting a greater reliance on bottom-up word identification processes during the reading of unspaced text compared with normally spaced text. ...
Article
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Prior research points to efficient identification of embedded words as a key factor in facilitating the reading of text printed without spacing between words. Here we further tested the primary role of bottom-up word identification by altering this process with a letter transposition manipulation. In two experiments, we examined silent reading and reading aloud of normal sentences and sentences containing words with letter transpositions, in both normally spaced and unspaced conditions. We predicted that letter transpositions should be particularly harmful for reading unspaced text. In line with our prediction, the majority of our measures of reading fluency showed that unspaced text with letter transpositions was disproportionately difficult to read. These findings provide further support for the claim that reading text without between-word spacing relies principally on efficient bottom-up processing, enabling accurate word identification in the absence of visual cues to identify word boundaries.
... In particular, a word is less strongly activated when its final letters are transposed (e.g., clibm) than when its internal letters are transposed (e.g., clmib). Such a positional effect on transposed letter (TL) processing has been shown in the masked priming paradigm (e.g., Perea & Lupker, 2003a, 2003bSchoonbaert & Grainger, 2004, at least for 5 letter words), in lexical decision responses to nonwords (e.g., Chambers, 1979), and in eye tracking research (e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012;White, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2008), and might be seen as contradictory to the left-to-right parsing model. This is because information about the final letter appears to take priority in processing over letters that occur earlier in the word (apart from the initial letter, whose disruption was also shown to reduce the impact of transposed letters in the above studies). ...
... It might simply mean that the units fed into a left-to-right parsing system are imprecisely coded in relation to the medial letters such that, for example, even when clmib is presented, an attempt is made to access cli, clim, and climb. In contrast, the space after the final letter prevents lateral inhibition and therefore leads to greater precision in coding (see e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Whitney, 2001) which means that climb is not a candidate unit when clibm is presented (unlike clb, clib, cil, and cilb). ...
... Unsurprisingly, Rayner, White, Johnson, and Liversedge (2006) found global reading time costs in sentences containing TL nonwords, including longer sentence reading times, longer average fixation durations, and an overall larger number of fixations and regressive saccades. In a follow-up study, White, Johnson, Liversedge, and Rayner (2008) found that word-external transpositions (i.e., involving the word's first two letters, or last two letters) elicited longer reading times than word-internal transpositions, with the most disruption caused by word-initial transpositions (see also Eisler, 2012, andChristianson, 2012, for more evidence as to the importance of word-external letters). One caveat to these two sets of findings is that every word of the sentence over a certain length received the letter transposition manipulation, which may have altered global reading strategies. ...
... The results of our two experiments were clear: although letter transpositions did generate processing costs in both measures, the magnitude of these costs did not differ for the between-and within-morpheme conditions. In general, we replicate previous work showing increased reading times for overt misspellings (Blythe et al., 2014;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Rayner et al., 2006;White et al., 2008), as well as work showing that misspellings elicit late posterior positivities (Münte et al., 1998;Van de Meerendonk et al., 2011;Vissers et al., 2007). Importantly, however, we find no differences in either reading times or P600 amplitude elicited from the between-and within-morpheme letter transposition conditions. ...
Article
The current study investigates the online processing consequences of encountering compound words with transposed letters (TLs), to determine if cross-morpheme TLs are more disruptive to reading than those within a single morpheme, as would be predicted by accounts of obligatory morpho-orthopgrahic decomposition. Two measures of online processing, eye movements and event-related potentials (ERPs), were collected in separate experiments. Participants read sentences containing correctly spelled compound words (cupcake), or compounds with TLs occurring either across morphemes (cucpake) or within one morpheme (cupacke). Results showed that between- and within-morpheme transpositions produced equal processing costs in both measures, in the form of longer reading times (Experiment 1) and a late posterior positivity (Experiment 2) that did not differ between conditions. Findings converge to suggest that within- and between-morpheme TLs are equally disruptive to recognition, providing evidence against obligatory morpho-orthographic processing and in favour of whole-word access of English compound words during sentence reading.
... In particular, a word is less strongly activated when its final letters are transposed (e.g., clibm) than when its internal letters are transposed (e.g., clmib). Such a positional effect on transposed letter (TL) processing has been shown in the masked priming paradigm (e.g., Perea & Lupker, 2003a, 2003bSchoonbaert & Grainger, 2004, at least for 5 letter words), in lexical decision responses to nonwords (e.g., Chambers, 1979), and in eye tracking research (e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012;White, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2008), and might be seen as contradictory to the left-to-right parsing model. This is because information about the final letter appears to take priority in processing over letters that occur earlier in the word (apart from the initial letter, whose disruption was also shown to reduce the impact of transposed letters in the above studies). ...
... It might simply mean that the units fed into a left-to-right parsing system are imprecisely coded in relation to the medial letters such that, for example, even when clmib is presented, an attempt is made to access cli, clim, and climb. In contrast, the space after the final letter prevents lateral inhibition and therefore leads to greater precision in coding (see e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Whitney, 2001) which means that climb is not a candidate unit when clibm is presented (unlike clb, clib, cil, and cilb). ...
... The order in which letters appear is important for word recognition in alphabetic writing systems, and English readers use this information during reading (Rayner, White, Johnson, & Liversedge, 2006;White, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2008;Johnson & Eisler, 2012). Without this information, readers would not be able to distinguish between anagrams such as stop, post, and spot, which contain the same constituent letters. ...
... However, TL nonword primes activate the representation of their base word to a lesser degree than do identity primes (Andrews, 1996;Bruner & O'Dowd, 1958;Chambers, 1979;Forster, Davis, Schoknecht, & Carter, 1987;Holmes & Ng, 1993;Kinoshita & Norris, 2009;O'Connor & Forster, 1981;Perea & Fraga, 2006;Perea & Lupker, 2003a, 2003bPerea, Rosa, & Gomez, 2005;Perea, Winskel, & Ratitamkul, 2012;Schoonbaert & Grainger, 2004). Moreover, letter order information is processed in natural reading (Rayner et al., 2006;White et al., 2008;Johnson & Eisler, 2012). The finding that TL nonwords facilitate the processing of the target word less than the identity condition suggests that letter identity and letter order information is encoded at some level when the prime is presented briefly. ...
Article
We explored how character order information is encoded in isolated word processing or Chinese sentence reading in 2 experiments using a masked priming paradigm and a gaze-contingent display-change paradigm. The results showed that response latencies in the lexical decision task and reading times on the target word region were longer in the unrelated condition (the prime or the preview was unrelated with the target word) than the transposed-character condition (the prime or the preview was a transposition of the 2 characters of the target word), which were respectively longer than in the identity condition (the prime or preview was identical to the target word). These results show that character order is encoded at an early stage of processing in Chinese reading, but character position encoding was not strict. We also found that character order encoding was similar for single-morpheme and multiple-morpheme words, suggesting that morphemic status does not affect character order encoding. The current results represent an early contribution to our understanding of character order encoding during Chinese reading. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
... letter plays a critical role in word recognition(Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Lima & Pollatsek, 1983;Xu & Sui, 2018).This could occur for several possible underlying reasons. The amount of important information carried at the beginning of a word is greater than that carried at other positions within the word (Grainger & Jacobs, 1993; Shillcock et al., 2000; White et al., 2008). ...
Preprint
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The cognitive mechanisms underlying Chinese word segmentation remain obscure. However, studies have found that readers can use character position probability to facilitate word segmentation even though the Chinese script does not use spaces. Surprisingly little is known about how this ability is employed during silent and oral reading. The present study manipulated both initial and final character positional frequencies of target words of either high or low lexical frequency. The results revealed a significant reading model effect, as longer fixations occur in oral than in silent reading, and importantly showed a privileged status for initial character positional frequency during word segmentation. An effect of initial character positional frequency was found during silent and oral reading, which indicates that readers effectively use character positional frequency to boost word recognition. Moreover, the initial character’s positional frequency contributed significantly to the processing of the target word under low-frequency conditions. Taken together, the information on character location probability is an important clue for readers to segment words, and this processing advantage of the character positional frequency is driven by the word frequency. The findings are an enhancement to the development of the character positional decoding model across Chinese reading.
... We suggest that the importance of the first letter of an upcoming word in preview could be critical in respect to why phonological pre-processing is modulated by orthographic similarity, given that the reader's generation of a phonological code necessitates serial left-to-right processing of the letters within a word. Past research has shown that the first letter plays a vital role in skilled adult readers' ability to lexically identify a word, both under direct fixation and, critically, during parafoveal pre-processing (e.g., Briihl & Inhoff, 1995;Hand, O'Donnell, & Sereno, 2012;Inhoff, 1987Inhoff, , 1989aInhoff, , 1989bJohnson & Eisler, 2012;Johnson, Perea, & Rayner, 2007;Milledge, Blythe, & Liversedge, 2021;White, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2008). In the studies that report an interaction between orthography and phonology in preview, it is typically shown that the advantage of having phonological information preserved in preview is greater when the orthographic manipulation involves fewer letter substitutions (orthographically similar) than when it involves more letter substitutions (orthographically dissimilar) (see Table 1). ...
Article
Full-text available
Although previous research has shown that, in English, both adult and teenage readers parafoveally pre-process phonological information during silent reading, to date, no research has been conducted to investigate such processing in children. Here we used the boundary paradigm during silent sentence reading, to ascertain whether typically developing English children, like adults, parafoveally process words phonologically. Participants' eye movements (adults: n = 48; children: n = 48) were recorded as they read sentences which contained, in preview, correctly spelled words (e.g., cheese), pseudohomophones (e.g., cheeze), or spelling controls (e.g., cheene). The orthographic similarity of the target words available in preview was also manipulated to be similar (e.g., cheese/cheeze/cheene) or dissimilar (e.g., queen/kween/treen). The results indicate that orthographic similarity facilitated both adults' and children's pre-processing. Moreover, children parafoveally pre-processed words phonologically very early in processing. The children demonstrated a pseudohomophone advantage from preview that was broadly similar to the effect displayed by the adults, although the orthographic similarity of the pseudohomophone previews was more important for the children than the adults. Overall, these results provide strong evidence for phonological recoding during silent English sentence reading in 8–9-year-old children.
... Cette modification dans la forme des champs récepteurs permettrait donc de limiter davantage les effets d'encombrement perceptif pour la première lettre du mot. Cette hypothèse permet de rendre compte de la meilleure visibilité de la première lettre dans une chaîne de lettres observée chez les lecteurs experts (Johnson & Eisler, 2012 ;Marzouki & Grainger, 2014 ;Scaltritti & Balota, 2013), ainsi que l'augmentation plus importante de la performance pour identifier la première lettre dans une séquence aléatoire de consonnes, chez l'apprenti-lecteur (Grainger, Lété, Bertrand, Beyersmann, & Ziegler, 2016). ...
... However, these models focus on multi-word reading, and thus, rely on letters presented in the parafovea separated by a space. Other research that has examined letters within words (as opposed to across word boundaries) suggests that there is a first-letter dominance effect (e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Jordan et al., 2003;Scaltritti & Balota, 2013;Scaltritti et al., 2018). ...
Article
Word recognition occurs across two sensory modalities: auditory (spoken words) and visual (written words). While each faces different challenges, they are often described in similar terms as a competition process by which multiple lexical candidates are activated and compete for recognition. While there is a general consensus regarding the types of words that compete during spoken word recognition, there is less consensus for written word recognition. The present study develops a novel version of the Visual World Paradigm (VWP) to examine written word recognition and uses this to assess the nature of the competitor set during word recognition in both modalities using the same experimental design. For both spoken and written words, we found evidence for activation of onset competitors (cohorts, e.g., cat, cap) and words that contain the same phonemes or letters in reverse order (anadromes, e.g., cat, tack). We found no evidence of activation for rhymes (e.g., cat, hat). Results across modalities were quite similar, with the exception that for spoken words, cohorts were more active than anadromes, whereas for written words activation was similar. These results suggest a common characterization of lexical similarity across spoken and written words: temporal or spatial order is coarsely coded, and onsets may receive more weight in both systems. However, for spoken words, temporary ambiguity during the moment of processing gives cohorts an additional boost during real-time recognition.
... These studies, where all the words in the sentences were manipulated, showed that the degradation or transposition of a word's initial letter caused a greater cost to reading (longer reading times) than internal letter degradation or transposition, indicating the elevated status of word-initial letters for lexical identification during sentence reading. These studies support the idea that internal letter position information is encoded more flexibly than initial letter information due to the importance of the word initial letter as a lexical access unit for word identification (see Briihl & Inhoff, 1995;Gagl et al., 2014;Johnson, 2007;Johnson & Dunne, 2012;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Johnson et al., 2007;Jordan et al., 2003;Pagán et al., 2016;Plummer & Rayner, 2012;Rayner et al., 1980;Tiffin-Richards & Schroeder, 2015). This evidence is consistent with new models of letter position encoding (the SOLAR model, Davis, 1999Davis, , 2010; the open bigram model, Grainger et al., 2006;Grainger & van Heuven, 2003;Grainger & Ziegler, 2011; the overlap model, Gómez et al., 2008;and the SERIOL model, Whitney, 2001), which account for flexible letter position encoding. ...
Article
Previous studies exploring the cost of reading sentences with words that have two transposed letters in adults showed that initial letter transpositions caused the most disruption to reading, indicating the important role that initial letters play in lexical identification (e.g., Rayner et al., 2006). Regarding children, it is not clear whether differences in reading ability would affect how they encode letter position information as they attempt to identify misspelled words in a reading-like task. The aim of this experiment was to explore how initial-letter position information is encoded by children compared to adults when reading misspelled words, containing transpositions, during a reading-like task. Four different conditions were used: control (words were correctly spelled), TL12 (letters in first and second positions were transposed), TL13 (letters in first and third positions were transposed), and TL23 (letters in second and third positions were transposed). Results showed that TL13 condition caused the most disruption, whereas TL23 caused the least disruption to reading of misspelled words. Although disruption for the TL13 condition was quite rapid in adults, the immediacy of disruption was less so for the TL23 and TL12 conditions. For children, effects of transposition also occurred quite rapidly but were longer lasting. The time course was particularly extended for the less skilled relative to the more skilled child readers. This pattern of effects suggests that both adults and children with higher, relative to lower, reading ability encode internal letter position information more flexibly to identify misspelled words, with transposed letters, during a reading-like task. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... While reading, the eye movement shifted within a small area of high acuity across the text to process the identity and the letters' order in a word available within the visual fields (Davis, 2010;Inhoff, 1990;Potter, 1984). Previous studies suggested the letter position encoding in alphabetic writing systems (Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Rayner, White, Johnson, & Liversedge, 2006;White, Johnson, Liversedge, & Rayner, 2008) and the character order encoding in logographic writing systems (Cao, Yang, & Yan, 2016b;Gu & Li, 2015). Although letter/character position was critical in visual word recognition, readers could still easily understand the text even when letters/characters were transposed during the reading process (Cao, Gao, & Yan, 2016a;Davis, 2003). ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study explored the morpheme transposition process of two-character Chinese words in the upper and lower visual fields by adopting a dual-target rapid serial visual presentation paradigm. The results showed that the identification accuracy of canonical words was better in the lower visual field, whereas the accuracy of transposed words was almost identical in the upper and lower visual fields. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between canonical and transposed words at 0°, 2°, 4°, and 6° eccentricities in the upper visual field. However, the accuracy of canonical words was markedly higher than that of transposed words at 2°, 4°, and 6° eccentricities in the lower visual field. Finally, the character order errors mainly occurred at 0°eccentricity with a duration of 100 ms in vertical visual fields. These findings, taken together, indicated that the character transposition affected the lexical process of two-character Chinese words in the lower visual field but not in the upper visual field, and the character order of words was more likely to be reversed at 0° eccentricity and the initial stage of visual word processing in vertical reading.
... Interestingly, when words were fixated twice (two-fixation cases), the initial fixations landed mostly on the second half of the letter strings in conditions where letter positions were reversed. Assuming that word beginnings have a special status (Vonk et al., 2000;Johnson & Eisler, 2012;White et al., 2008), the results suggested that readers targeted the second half of the letter strings to obtain information on the initial letters of words for further processing. In other words, the oculomotor system adapted to the changes in the orthographic information. ...
Thesis
Most reading theories assume that readers aim at word centers for optimal information processing. During reading, saccade targeting turns out to be imprecise: Saccades’ initial landing positions often miss the word centers and have high variance, with an additional systematic error that is modulated by the distance from the launch site to the center of the target word. The performance of the oculomotor system, as reflected in the statistics of within-word landing positions, turns out to be very robust and mostly affected by the spatial information during reading. Hence, it is assumed that the saccade generation is highly automated. The main goal of this thesis is to explore the performance of the oculomotor system under various reading conditions where orthographic information and the reading direction were manipulated. Additionally, the challenges in understanding the eye movement data to represent the oculomotor process during reading are addressed. Two experimental studies and one simulation study were conducted for this thesis, which resulted in the following main findings: (i) Reading texts with orthographic manipulations leads to specific changes in the eye movement patterns, both in temporal and spatial measures. The findings indicate that the oculomotor control of eye movements during reading is dependent on reading conditions (Chapter 2 & 3). (ii) Saccades’ accuracy and precision can be simultaneously modulated under reversed reading condition, supporting the assumption that the random and systematic oculomotor errors are not independent. By assuming that readers increase the precision of sensory observation while maintaining the learned prior knowledge when reading direction was reversed, a process-oriented Bayesian model for saccade targeting can account for the simultaneous reduction of oculomotor errors (Chapter 2). (iii) Plausible parameter values serving as proxies for the intended within-word landing positions can be estimated by using the maximum a posteriori estimator from Bayesian inference. Using the mean value of all observations as proxies is insufficient for studies focusing on the launch-site effect because the method exhibits the strongest bias when estimating the size of the effect. Mislocated fixations remain a challenge for the currently known estimation methods, especially when the systematic oculomotor error is large (Chapter 4). The results reported in this thesis highlight the role of the oculomotor system, together with underlying cognitive processes, in eye movements during reading. The modulation of oculomotor control can be captured through a precise analysis of landing positions.
... Some of them in English found very similar results with this current study; exterior letter pairs advantage occurs while reading more than others positions (Marzouki & Grainger, 2013;Jordan, Thomas, Patching & Scott-Brown, 2003). However, Johnson and Eisler (2012) indicated that the exceptional status of letters in the initial position had been exhibited even in sentence reading. The authors investigated understanding in different letter positions while reading. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
The current study aims to investigate the importance of exterior, initial, and interior positions while reading in Turkish. Leyla’nın Evi by Zülfü Livaneli was utilized to select four passages of prose (Livaneli, 2006), and from each passage, fifty words were degraded by using Gaussian blur filtering in Python. Forty native Turkish psychology students attended from Middle East Technical University – Northern Cyprus Campus (METU NCC). The research designed at SuperLab 4.0 and all conditions counterbalanced across participants. Each participant read all paragraphs with four conditions (exterior, interior, initial, and no degradation), and later asked five multiple-choice questions in order to be sure that they understand the content of each passage accurately. Results indicated that exterior letters (e.g., ö.....i in öğrenci) have a crucial role in Turkish similar to it investigated with many studies in English (e.g., Marzouki & Grainger, 2013; Jordan, Thomas, Patching & Scott-Brown, 2003). However, different from some studies in English (e.g., Stevens & Grainger, 2003; Johnson & Eisler, 2012), Thai letters, Roman letters and symbols (e.g., Winskel, Perea & Peart, 2014) in the current study, there could not be found an advantage for initial position (e.g., öğ..... in öğrenci) in Turkish.
... The first letter of a word has been shown to be important in many aspects of psycholinguistics, e.g., word reading and recognition, sentence reading (Johnson and Eisler 2012;Pathak et al. 2019a). Relevant to the current discussion, the initial letter has also been shown to be equally important in a person's name (also called the name-letter effect), where the initials associated with a person's name are thought to affect their career choice, place of living, product preferences, and even social interactions with other individuals, who have the same letter initials (Hodson and Olson 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the marketing literature, the ‘K effect’ refers to the claim that the letter K is overrepresented as the initial letter of brand names. To date, however, most findings have only considered the frequency of the written letters incorporated into brand names. Here, we argue that since letters sometimes sound different when pronounced in different words (e.g., ‘C’ in Cartier vs. Cisco), a phonemic analysis of the initial phonemes is likely to be more insightful than merely a comparison of the written form (as reported by previous researchers). With this in mind, the initial phonemes of top brand names were analyzed and compared with: (1) words in the dictionary; (2) a corpus of contemporary American English; and (3) the most popular current children’s names in the USA. We also analyzed a different list of top brands, including both corporate brand names (e.g., Procter & Gamble) as well as the product-related brand names (e.g., Pantene). We conclude by reporting the most underrepresented [vowels (/aʊ/, /ɜː/, /ɔɪ/, /ɔː/) and consonants (/r/, /ʒ/, /l/, /θ/)] and overrepresented [vowels (/iː/, /əʊ/) and consonants (/j/, /z/, /f/, /dʒ/, /p/, /j/, /t/)] initial phonemes in the brand names vis-à-vis the current linguistic naming conventions.
... This is unsurprising, as the importance of the initial letter is well-established in the visual word recognition literature (e.g. [24][25][26][27]). However, because synaesthetes only have the option to provide one colour, only the first-letter colour is recorded, 1 and becomes conflated with the whole-word colour, rather than the first colour of potentially several within the word. ...
Article
In this paper, I present arguments and suggestions for the improvement of the scientific study of synaesthesia, and particularly grapheme-colour synaesthesia in relation to psycholinguistic research, although the principles I advocate can be easily adapted to any subfield of synaesthesia study. I postulate that the current state of research on synaesthesia in general, and on grapheme-colour synaesthesia in particular, suffers from a lack of exploratory evidence and essential groundwork upon which to build hypothesis-testing studies. In particular, I argue that synaesthesia research has been artificially bounded by assumptions about the nature of synaesthetic experiences, which constrain both the questions that researchers ask and the way in which they go about answering those questions. As a specific example, I detail how much of the current research on grapheme-colour synaesthesia is built to accommodate two major assumptions about the nature of colours for letters and for words—assumptions which I will contend are not universally true, and the exceptions to which point to a much richer and heterogeneous understanding of synaesthetic experience than current research practices capture. The top-down predetermination of what is important or meaningful to measure, and what is not, has subsequently impeded a full understanding of what synaesthesia is and how it works. I argue that these assumptions must be carefully addressed and evaluated, both for the particular case of grapheme-colour synaesthesia and for the field as a whole, to move towards a holistic and fruitful understanding of synaesthesia as a phenomenon and as a tool to study language, thought and perception. To that end, I propose specific recommendations for synaesthesia researchers to solidify and expand their understanding and to capture the actual experience of synaesthetes. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Bridging senses: novel insights from synaesthesia’.
... In order to more rigorously examine the effect of the block format on efficiency in reading Korean, a control analysis of the phonological property of consonants was performed, specifically of the degree of consonant sonority of the first consonant. This control analysis was based on the findings of first-letter effects on reading (Johnson & Eisler, 2012). Moreover, consonants are not only first letters in Hangul, but they also have different levels of acoustic intensity. ...
Chapter
This study investigated cross-linguistic influences of the Korean script’s syllabic format on L2 English word reading. A total of 103 college students participated in two naming experiments in Korea and the U.S. Experiment 1 used Korean graphemes presented in both block (i.e., Hangul printing convention) and left-to-right linear (i.e., English printing convention) formats. Results from Experiment 1 showed that Korean participants were significantly faster in reading Korean graphemes presented in the block format than in the linear format. Experiment 2 utilized English words that appeared to participants as having random spaces but in fact the spaces corresponded to Korean syllabic boundaries (e.g., un der s tan d, 언더스탠드). Results from Experiment 2 revealed that native Korean readers did not show a significant interference effect in reading L2 words that were derived from L1 syllabic boundaries. Findings are interpreted within the context of the Syllabic Autonomy Saliency Hypothesis for Hangul.
... As the importance of the first and last letters of each word for reading is well known [10], we break each string into three parts: start, middle, and end. Figure1 shows an example of our split. ...
Chapter
Lexical recognition tests are frequently used to assess vocabulary knowledge. In such tests, learners need to differentiate between words and artificial nonwords that look much like real words. Our ultimate goal is to create high quality lexical recognition tests automatically which enables repetitive automated testing for different languages. This task involves both simple (words selection) and complex (nonwords generation) subtasks. Our main goal here is to automatically generate word-like nonwords. We compare different ranking strategy and find that our best strategy (a specialized higher-order character-based language model) creates word-like nonwords. We evaluate our nonwords in a user study and find that our automatically generated test yields scores that are highly correlated with a well-established lexical recognition test which was manually created.
... For example, given that the words "correct" and "became" have two syllables, two letters were randomly deleted, regardless of consonants or vowels, from the base word, resulting in "corct" and "bcae," respectively. In the construction of the random-ommision items, the first and last letters were kept intact given that (1) previous studies showed a more dominant role of the onset and ending letters in word recogntion than medial letters (Johnson & Eisler, 2012) and (2) the first and last letters provide the minimum phonotactic rule; hence only internal letters were subjected to be randomly deleted. ...
Article
While evidence shows that consonants play a primary role over vowels in reading Roman script, it remains unclear whether this primacy extends to reading non-Roman script. This study investigated the role of vowels in L2 English word reading among native Korean readers. Seventy six Korean- and English-speaking adults read words in a naming test. Stimuli included four conditions: lowercase, uppercase, letter strings with no vowels (e.g., cmmn for common), and letter strings with randomly missing letters (e.g., corct for correct). Overall, the vowel deletion manipulation gave rise to higher accuracy and faster reading than the random omission condition for the two groups. When the baseline was controlled, the group and condition variables jointly affected accuracy, but the condition and L1 script are independent of each other for latency. Results suggest that the consonant letter primacy observed in Roman script may not fully extend to other alphabetic languages.
... Additionally, the first position advantage for letters has been shown to be particularly robust, surviving in experimental conditions that, on the contrary, had a detrimental effect on processing of the final letter (Tydgat & Grainger, 2009). Furthermore, a special status of letters in first position has been demonstrated in paradigms focusing on whole word recognition (e.g., Scaltritti & Balota, 2013), and even in sentence reading (e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012;Jordan, Thomas, Patching, & Scott-Brown, 2003). ...
Article
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A post-cued partial report target-in-string identification experiment examined the influence of stimulus orientation on the serial position functions for strings of five consonants or five symbols, with an aim to test different accounts of the first-letter advantage observed in prior research. Under one account, this phenomenon is driven by processing that is specific to horizontally arranged letter (and digit) strings. An alternative account explains the first-letter advantage in terms of attentional biases towards the beginning of letter strings. We observed a significant three-way interaction between stimulus type (letters vs. symbols), serial position (1-5), and orientation (horizontal vs. vertical) that was driven by a greater first-position advantage for letters than symbols when stimuli were presented horizontally compared with vertical presentation. These results provide support for the letter-specific processing account of the first-letter advantage, and further suggest that differences in visual complexity between letters and symbols play a minor role. Nevertheless, a first-position advantage for letters was observed in the vertical presentation condition, thus pointing to some role for attentional biases that operate independently of string orientation.
... Thus, a comparison of DV-MA and DV-SA performance will show whether length of tokens contribute to enhance attribution effectiveness. DV-EX is inspired by psychological studies indicating that exterior letters are more important than interior letters in sentence reading (Jordan, Thomas, Patching, & Scott Brown, 2003;Johnson & Eisler, 2012). Finally, DV-L2 is an attempt to maintain word suffixes that usually indicate morpho-syntactic information (e.g., tense, number, part-of-speech, etc.). ...
Article
Authorship attribution attempts to reveal the authors of documents. In recent years, research in this field has grown rapidly. However, the performance of state-of-the-art methods is heavily affected when text of known authorship and texts under investigation differ in topic and/or genre. So far, it is not clear how to quantify the personal style of authors in a way that is not affected by topic shifts or genre variations. In this paper, a set of text distortion methods are used attempting to mask topic-related information. These methods transform the input texts into a more topic-neutral form while maintaining the structure of documents associated with the personal style of the author. Using a controlled corpus that includes a fine-grained range of topics and genres it is demonstrated how the proposed approach can be combined with existing authorship attribution methods to enhance their performance in very challenging tasks, especially in cross-topic attribution. We also examine cross-genre attribution and the most challenging, yet realistic, cross-topic-and-genre attribution scenarios and show how the proposed techniques should be tuned to enhance performance in these tasks. Finally, we demonstrate that there are important differences in attribution effectiveness when either conversational genres, nonconversational genres, or a mix of them are considered.
... Cette modification dans la forme des champs récepteurs permettrait donc de limiter davantage les effets d'encombrement perceptif pour la première lettre du mot. Cette hypothèse permet de rendre compte de la meilleure visibilité de la première lettre dans une chaîne de lettres observée chez les lecteurs experts (Johnson & Eisler, 2012 ;Marzouki & Grainger, 2014 ;Scaltritti & Balota, 2013), ainsi que l'augmentation plus importante de la performance pour identifier la première lettre dans une séquence aléatoire de consonnes, chez l'apprenti-lecteur (Grainger, Lété, Bertrand, Beyersmann, & Ziegler, 2016). ...
... In addition, readers tend to fixate slightly to the left of the middle of the words (e.g., Nazir, Jacobs, & O'Regan, 1998;Rayner, 1979) possibly to optimize processing for leftmost letters. Also, reading is more strongly and more consistently disrupted by transpositions involving initial letters than other letters (e.g., Johnson & Eisler, 2012). Given these findings, the simplest account is that the reading systems is particularly sensitive to the initial position and capitalizes on its importance by enhancing processing via visuo-spatial attention. ...
Article
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A prominent question in visual word recognition is whether letters within a word are processed in parallel or in a left to right sequence. Although most contemporary models posit parallel processing, this notion seems at odds with well-established serial position effects in word identification that indicate preferential processing for the initial letter. The present study reports 4 experiments designed to further probe the locus of the first position processing advantage. The paradigm involved masked target words presented for short durations and required participants to subsequently select from 2 alternatives, 1 which was identical to the target and 1 that differed by a single letter. Experiment 1 manipulated the case between the target and the alternatives to ensure that previous evidence for a first position effect was not due to simple perceptual matching. The results continued to yield a robust first position advantage. Experiment 2 attempted to eliminate postperceptual decision processes as the explanatory mechanism by presenting single letters as targets and requiring participants to select an entire word that contained the target letter at different positions. Here the first position advantage was eliminated, suggesting postperceptual decision processes do not underlie the effect. The final 2 experiments presented masked stimuli either all vertically (Experiment 3) or randomly intermixed vertical and horizontal orientation (Experiment 4). In both cases, a robust first position advantage was still obtained. The authors consider alternative interpretations of this effect and suggest that these results are consistent with a rapid deployment of spatial attention to the beginning of a target string which occurs poststimulus onset. (PsycINFO Database Record
... Cette modification dans la forme des champs récepteurs permettrait donc de limiter davantage les effets d'encombrement perceptif pour la première lettre du mot. Cette hypothèse permet de rendre compte de la meilleure visibilité de la première lettre dans une chaîne de lettres observée chez les lecteurs experts (Johnson & Eisler, 2012 ;Marzouki & Grainger, 2014 ;Scaltritti & Balota, 2013), ainsi que l'augmentation plus importante de la performance pour identifier la première lettre dans une séquence aléatoire de consonnes, chez l'apprenti-lecteur (Grainger, Lété, Bertrand, Beyersmann, & Ziegler, 2016). ...
Article
Dans cet article nous proposons une synthèse des données disponibles sur les toutes premières étapes de la reconnaissance du mot écrit, de la prise d’information visuelle au traitement des informations orthographiques, à la lumière des résultats issus des études menées chez le lecteur expert et chez l’apprenti-lecteur. Nous examinons la façon dont les processus perceptifs et visuo-attentionnels influencent le traitement des suites de lettres à ce premier niveau de codage orthographique. Cet article permet notamment de souligner le rôle déterminant de ces processus dans l'apprentissage de la lecture, ainsi que dans la compréhension des difficultés observées chez certains enfants dyslexiques. Visuo-attentional Processes and Reading : Assessment and Prospects This article summarizes research examining the very earliest stages of visual word recognition in both skilled and beginning readers, from the uptake of visual information to sublexical orthographic processing, Visual and attentional factors are thought to have their main impact on reading at this first level of orthographic processing. We examine the importance of these processes for learning to read, and how they can improve our understanding of the difficulties encountered by a proportion of dyslexic children during reading acquisition.
... As the importance of the first and last letters of each word for reading is well known (Johnson and Eisler, 2012), we break each string into three parts: start, middle, and end. Figure 1 shows an example of our split. For each part, we separately train and apply a position-specific character language model. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Lexical recognition tests are frequently used for measuring language proficiency. In such tests, learners need to differentiate between words and artificial nonwords that look much like real words. Our goal is to automatically generate word-like nonwords which enables repeated automated testing. We compare different ranking strategy and find that our best strategy (a specialized higher-order character-based language model) creates word-like nonwords. We evaluate our nonwords in a user study and find that our automatically generated test yields scores that are highly correlated with a well-established lexical recognition test which was manually created.
... , " which is obtained by reversing the constituent morphemes of the canonical two-character word " " ('comfortable'), shares visual similarity with its corresponding canonical characters, but the character position is violated and the transposed word is meaningless. Several studies using a lexical decision paradigm Liu et al., 2010;Bai et al., 2011) or masked priming paradigm (Gu et al., 2015) have demonstrated that Chinese words show insensitivity to the positional information of the constituent morphemes, which is similar to the hypothesis that the letter order is not strictly encoded in alphabetic scripts (Rayner et al., 2006;Johnson and Eisler, 2012). However, previous experiments have not investigated the temporal dynamics of Chinese character order encoding or the effects of word integration during AB, especially for two-character Chinese compound words. ...
Article
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The attentional blink (AB) is the phenomenon in which the identification of the second of two targets (T2) is attenuated if it is presented less than 500 ms after the first target (T1). Although the AB is eliminated in canonical word conditions, it remains unclear whether the character order in compound words affects the magnitude of the AB. Morpheme decomposition and transposition of Chinese two-character compound words can provide an effective means to examine AB priming and to assess combinations of the component representations inherent to visual word identification. In the present study, we examined the processing of consecutive targets in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm using Chinese two-character compound words in which the two characters were transposed to form meaningful words or meaningless combinations (reversible, transposed or canonical words). We found that when two Chinese characters that form a compound word, regardless of their order, are presented in an RSVP sequence, the likelihood of an AB for the second character is greatly reduced or eliminated compared to when the two characters constitute separate words rather than a compound word. Moreover, the order of the report for the two characters is more likely to be reversed when the normal order of the two characters in a compound word is reversed, especially when the interval between the presentation of the two characters is extremely short. These findings are more consistent with the cognitive strategy hypothesis than the resource-limited hypothesis during character decomposition and transposition of Chinese two-character compound words. These results suggest that compound characters are perceived as a unit, rather than two separate words. The data further suggest that readers could easily understand the text with character transpositions in compound words during Chinese reading.
... In many cases only (part of) the 'consonantal skeleton' is left (Androutsopoulos 2011), except when the word begins with a vowel. In that case, that vowel is generally preserved since the initial letter is essential for word recognition (Johnson and Eisler 2012;Nekesa Barasa 2010, 160). This explains why of course is compressed to ofc, while back is converted into bk in the Flemish chat data (see table 2). ...
Article
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The present article deals with the integration of English in informal written computer-mediated communication (CMC) by teenagers and young adults who are not native or first language speakers of English. Data from an extensive Flemish chat corpus are compared to South African, Kenyan, Nigerian, Ghanaian and Sierra Leonean chat and texting data. While the general (socio) linguistic context of the respective speech communities varies considerably, the younger generations appear to share an orientation towards global CMC English. Moreover they apply similar strategies when integrating English in their online discourse and demonstrate both cosmopolitan and local chat linguistic dexterity. The approach of the present study is mainly qualitative. It focuses on spelling adaptations and on the presence of universal' English chatspeak features. While the parallelisms between the Flemish and African data are most significant, the discrepancies point to the potential impact of factors related to the local context and the CMC medium.
... bv. Johnson & Eisler 2012). Dat impliceert dat het genre an sich de weergave van h-procope in chatspeak per definitie in grotere mate zou verhinderen dan die van pakweg t-deletie. ...
Article
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It has been hypothesized that the inherently variable and heterogeneous Flemish tus-sentaal, the supralocal colloquial variety of Dutch, is subject to a (sub)standardization process (Taeldeman 2008). This paper reports on the use of twelve supposedly pan-Flem-ish substandard features by Flemish teenagers in a large corpus of informal chat conversations (more than two million words), in which both the central Brabantic area and the eastern and western peripheral provinces are represented. It investigates the extent to which the data corroborate this homogenization hypothesis. From a methodological point of view, it intends to check whether research on written chat data offers a valid alternative for variational linguistic research on spoken language.   
Article
The present study investigated the electrophysiological correlates of morpheme transposition in two-character Chinese compound words (canonical words and transposed words) and pseudowords at a very short stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of 83 ms, employing a dual-target rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task. Event-related potential (ERP) results showed that, relative to pseudowords, canonical words elicited increased positivity or decreased negativity in ERP amplitudes beginning with the 200–300 ms (P200) and continuing through the 300–450 ms (N400) into the late time window of 450–600 ms (late positive component, LPC). Critically, the morpheme transposition effects were found on the N400 component and LPC, with larger N400 and smaller LPC amplitudes in the transposed words than in the canonical words. Taken together, these results demonstrated that morpheme transposition hindered the semantic extraction and combinatorial processing of the whole word entities in very rapid succession, as reflected by the modulations of N400 and LPC.
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Across languages, the speech signal is characterized by a predominant modulation of the amplitude spectrum between about 4.3 and 5.5 Hz, reflecting the production and processing of linguistic information chunks (syllables and words) every ~200 ms. Interestingly, ~200 ms is also the typical duration of eye fixations during reading. Prompted by this observation, we demonstrate that German readers sample written text at ~5 Hz. A subsequent meta-analysis of 142 studies from 14 languages replicates this result and shows that sampling frequencies vary across languages between 3.9 Hz and 5.2 Hz. This variation systematically depends on the complexity of the writing systems (character-based versus alphabetic systems and orthographic transparency). Finally, we empirically demonstrate a positive correlation between speech spectrum and eye movement sampling in low-skilled non-native readers, with tentative evidence from post hoc analysis suggesting the same relationship in low-skilled native readers. On the basis of this convergent evidence, we propose that during reading, our brain’s linguistic processing systems imprint a preferred processing rate—that is, the rate of spoken language production and perception—onto the oculomotor system.
Preprint
Thoth is a tool designed to combine many different types of speed reading technology. The largest insight is using natural language parsing for more optimal rapid serial visual presentation and more effective reading information.
Preprint
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Across languages, the speech signal is characterized by a predominant modulation of the amplitude spectrum at ~4-5 Hz, reflecting the processing of linguistic information chunks (i.e., syllables or words) approximately every 200 ms. Interestingly, ~200 ms is also the typical duration of eye fixations during reading. Prompted by this observation, we estimated the frequency at which German readers sample text, and demonstrate that they read sentences at a rate of ~5 Hz. We then examined the generality of this finding in a meta-analysis including 14 languages. We replicated the empirical result for German and observed that fixation-based sampling frequencies vary across languages between 3.9 and 5.2 Hz. Remarkably, we identified a systematic rate reduction from easy to difficult writing systems. Finally, we directly investigated in a new experiment the association between speech spectrum and eye-movement sampling frequency at a person-specific level and found a significant correlation. Based on this evidence, we argue that during reading, the rate of our eye movements is tuned to supply information to language comprehension processes at a preferred rate, coincident with the typical rate of speech. Significance Statement Across languages, speech is produced and perceived at a rate of ~4-5Hz. When listening to speech, our brain capitalizes this temporal structure to segment speech. We show empirically that while reading our eyes sample text at the same rate, and generalize this finding in a meta-analysis to 14 languages. Reading rates vary between 3.9 and 5.2Hz – i.e., within the typical range of the speech signal. We demonstrate that the difficulty of writing systems underpins this variance. Lastly, we also demonstrate that the speech rate between persons is correlated with the rate at which their eyes sample text. The speech rate of spoken language appears to act as a driving force for the voluntary control of eye movements during reading.
Article
Letter/character position information plays an important role in visual word recognition. In this article, we review three representative models of letter position encoding, i.e. the Open-Bigram Model, the Spatial Coding Model, and the Overlap Model. In addition, we review main experimental findings on letter/character position encoding in alphabetic language reading and Chinese reading. Finally, we point out some remaining open questions regarding Chinese character position encoding, and propose some new trends in this line of research.
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Comparison of eye movement mechanisms in natural reading with two commonly used instruments in the evaluation and/or treatment of SLD (Specific Learning Disorders): the naming of word lists (and/or pseudowords) and the naming of single word tachystoscopic projections. This critical literary revision demonstrates limitations of single-word paradigms and highlights the specific necessity of eye movements for efficient reading. New perspectives can also be demonstrated by means of eye movement tracing analysis. We propose a new hypothesis regarding both the dynamic perceptual span and the crowding of WHERE (compared to the crowding of WHAT). Therefore there is a need for a more ecological approach to the analysis of reading, based on the mechanics of eye movement found in normal adults.
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This article analyses the processes of reducing language in textchats produced by non-native speakers of English. We propose that forms are reduced because of their high frequency and because of the discourse context. A wide variety of processes are attested in the literature, and we find different forms of clippings in our data, including mixtures of different clippings, homophone respellings, phonetic respellings including informal oral forms, initialisms (but no acronyms), and mixtures of clipping together with homophone and phonetic respellings. Clippings were the most frequent process (especially back-clippings and initialisms), followed by homophone respellings. There were different ways of metalinguistically marking reduction, but capitalisation was by far the most frequent. There is much individual variation in the frequencies of the different processes, although most were within normal distribution. The fact that non-native speakers seem to generally follow reduction patterns of native speakers suggests that reduction is a universal process.
Article
Given the lack of spaces between words in Chinese text, Chinese readers must parse these characters into words using their word knowledge. In this situation, are the characters belonging to a single word or to different words understood via different character-order encoding processes? In this study, we explored the effects of word boundaries in Chinese text on character-order encoding. We used four-character words (the one-word condition) and two two-character words (the two-word condition) as our targets. We embedded the target words into sentences and then manipulated the previews of the words using the boundary paradigm. The preview was identical to the target word (identity condition), had the two middle characters of the target word transposed (TC condition), or had two middle characters that were different from those in the target word (SC condition). Fixation durations on the target word in the TC condition were much longer than those in the identity condition for the two-word condition, but they were not significantly different for the one-word condition. Furthermore, for the one-word condition, gaze durations were longer in the SC than in the TC condition, whereas for the two-word condition, the difference between the TC and SC conditions was not significant. Word boundaries were found to affect the character-order encoding in Chinese reading, further suggesting the early occurrence of word segmentation.
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The effects of retinal location, serial letter position, and order of approximation to English on the accuracy of report of tachistoscopically presented letter arrays were examined. Processing time was controlled by a visual mask. The results show the following: (1) Overall accuracy is higher for arrays which appeared symmetrically around a central fixation point than for arrays which appeared either in the right or left visual field. (2) The first and last letters of an array are identified with the greatest accuracy except with symmetrical arrays. (3) Fourth-order approximations are more accurately reported than first-order approximations at each retinal location and at each letter position with the exception of the first and last letters. (4) Retinal location interacts with serial position in such a way that letters in middle positions are primarily affected by retinal location. (5) Letters are processed from left to right regardless of retinal location.
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The present research tested the hypothesis that variations in the orthographic regularity of word beginnings influence landing positions and amplitudes of interword saccades in continuous reading. Participants were asked to read sentences including target words of low, medium, and high frequency of initial quadrigrams that were either single‐root nouns or noun‐noun compounds. Saccades landed further into words with more regular beginnings, irrespective of whether the target was a compound word or not. Critically, the orthographic landing site effect was graded, suggesting that orthographic information continuously modulates saccade amplitude before and after the decision to move has been made.
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J. Hyönä, P. Niemi, and G. Underwood (1989) provided evidence suggesting that in reading, the initial fixation lands farther into a word that has an informative as opposed to a redundant ending. The finding points to the potential importance of the within-word information distribution in determining fixation locations in words. However, the reliability of the effect has been recently challenged by K. Rayner and R. Morris (1992). The current study did not find much support for the notion that the relative informativeness of word endings would be a relevant factor in eye guidance. On the other hand, it did show that a highly irregular letter cluster in the beginning of a word attracts a fixation closer toward the word beginning, particularly to the space prior to the word. This finding is discussed in light of visual guidance models that emphasize the relevance of word length and spacing information for governing the eyes through a text. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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When choosing which of 2 equally plausible "critical" letters (e.g., n or h) was present in a briefly presented backward-pattern-masked target (the Reicher-Wheeler task), people are more accurate with words (e.g., show) than isolated letters ( h). Contemporary accounts argue that pattern masks induce this word-letter phenomenon (WLP) because critical letters in words are more resistant to replacement from masking letter fragments occupying the same serial positions. The authors tested this notion by directly examining the effect of position-specific masking on critical-letter report using backward-pattern masks that occupied only each critical-letter position. Under these conditions, no WLP was observed, even though all noncritical letters in words were unmasked. However, a strong WLP was obtained when masks occupied all possible serial positions, including those of noncritical letters. Further experiments indicated that these masking effects were not confounded by attentional factors. Implications for contemporary accounts of the WLP and the structure of the word recognition system are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In Exp 1, idiosyncratic words whose spellings require word-specific knowledge were those that most clearly discriminated spelling production in 18 university students who were good spellers and 18 who were poor spellers. In Exps 2 and 3, 36 university students completed a lexical decision task. Poor spellers often made their decisions on the basis of a partial analysis of the letter sequence. In Exp 4, while 24 poor spellers were just as good as 24 good spellers in matching symbol and random consonant sequences, they were worse at matching word and nonword stimuli. Results indicate that poor spellers' inefficient processing is confined to orthographically structured stimuli. It argued that their failure to retain detailed knowledge of spellings results from their partial-analysis strategy of word recognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The properties of serial position functions for tachistoscopic report were investigated over a wide range of viewing times. Four-letter strings of random consonants were presented in varying display locations relative to the fixation point with the observers’ eye movements monitored to limit them to a single fixation for each display. Salient properties of the serial position curves include an overall central-peripheral gradient, higher performance at the ends than the interior of letter strings regardless of absolute location, and left-right asymmetry in the visual field, all of these being largely independent of viewing time. Errors reflecting loss of positional information are prominent even at extended viewing times, are more nearly symmetrical in the left and right visual fields than other types of errors, and, in contrast to item errors, occur less frequently in letter sequences that have high frequencies in English. Further, transposition errors exhibit a pronounced peripheral-to-central drift, possibly reflecting gradients of positional uncertainty. Such gradients may be implicated in the peripheral-central asymmetry of the lateral interference effects exerted by other letters on a target letter in a nonfoveal location.
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A forced-choice detection paradigm controlling for postperceptual inference was used to investigate letter identification in three-position displays. Letters from a predesignated set of four targets appeared singly, in strings of noise characters, in unpronounceable nonsense strings, and in words. Subjects knew which context would occur, but did not know which of the three display positions would contain the target. Correct detection data were collected at constant exposure duration over five testing sessions. Overall identification accuracy was higher in words than in all other contexts, the first word superiority effect to be found with targets specified in advance since Reicher’s (1969). This effect remained constant over sessions. An interaction between context type and target position showed enhanced accuracy for initial and terminal letters in words, but depressed accuracy at initial and terminal positions in other contexts. This was interpreted to mean that prior knowledge of context is used to alter the dynamics of perceptual analysis.
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A series of experiments that examined the characteristics of useful information to the right of fixation during reading is reported. In Experiments 1 and 2, reading performance when the information available to the right of fixation was determined by a fixed number of letters was compared with reading performance when the information to the right of fixation was determined by a fixed number of words. Beyond making more letters visible, both experiments showed that preserving all of the letters of a word was of no special benefit to reading. By explicitly presenting parts of the word to the right of fixation as well as the fixated word, Experiments 3 and 4 followed up on the implication that readers utilize partial letter information from words. Both experiments showed that reading was improved by this partial information and that preserving three letters of the word to the right of fixation improved reading almost as much as presenting the entire word. The implications the results have for models of reading are discussed.
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This paper describes a novel theoretical framework of how the position of a letter within a string is encoded, the SERIOL model (sequential encoding regulated by inputs to oscillations within letter units). Letter order is represented by a temporal activation pattern across letter units, as is consistent with current theories of information coding based on the precise timing of neural spikes. The framework specifies how this pattern is invoked via an activation gradient that interacts with subthreshold oscillations and how it is decoded via contextual units that activate word units. Using mathematical modeling, this theoretical framework is shown to account for the experimental data from a wide variety of string-processing studies, including hemispheric asymmetries, the optimal viewing position, and positional priming effects.
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Recent research suggests that the time to recognize a visually presented word may be a function of the frequencies of orthographically similar words. More precisely, recognition latencies and errors appear to increase significantly as soon as the stimulus word is orthographically-similar to at least one other higher frequency word. This phenomenon, referred to as theneighborhood frequency effect, was subjected to further experimental testing, using a larger selection of words of varying frequency and length, and using a new experimental technique that proved to be extremely sensitive to such effects. The results provide additional support for earlier observations of neighborhood frequency effects. It is also demonstrated that clear word-frequency effects do obtain when neighborhood frequency is held constant. The results support activationbased accounts of the word-recognition process.
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Five undergraduates read aloud three pages of text a day for 10 days. One page of text each day had interword spaces filled with a black letter-like filler, one with a red filler, and one was normal (control). Results showed that (1) red fillers produced a reading rate significantly below normal text, (2) black fillers yielded a significantly lower reading rate than red fillers, and (3) with practice, the reading rate for the black-filled condition rose significantly. Testing on Day 11 with an alternative filler form showed that a specific form was being learned with practice. Results were interpreted as support for both peripheral guidance of eye movement by physical cues and cognitive guidance involving reader-generated hypotheses about the text.
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The present review summarizes research investigating how words are identified parafoveally (and foveally) in reading. Parafoveal and foveal processing are compared when no other concurrent task is required (e.g., in single-word recognition tasks) and when both are required simultaneously (e.g., during reading). We first review methodologies used to study parafoveal processing (e.g., corpus analyses and experimental manipulations, including gaze-contingent display change experiments such as the boundary, moving window, moving mask, and fast priming paradigms). We then turn to a discussion of the levels of representation at which words are processed (e.g., orthographic, phonological, morphological, lexical, syntactic, and semantic). Next, we review relevant research regarding parafoveal processing, summarizing the extent to which words are processed at each of those levels of representation. We then review some of the most controversial aspects of parafoveal processing, as they relate to reading: (1) word skipping, (2) parafoveal-on-foveal effects, and (3) n + 1 and n + 2 preview benefit effects. Finally, we summarize two of the most advanced models of eye movements during reading and how they address foveal and parafoveal processing.
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Many word-reading models assume that the early stages of reading involve a separate process of letter position encoding. However, neuropsychological evidence for the existence and selectivity of this function has been rather indirect, coming mainly from position preservation in migrations between words in attentional dyslexia, and from nonselective reading deficits. No pure demonstration of selective impairment of letter position function has yet been made. In this paper two Hebrew-speaking acquired dyslexic patients with occipito-parietal lesions are presented who suffer from a highly selective deficit to letter position encoding. As a result of this deficit, they predominantly make errors of letter migration within words (such as reading "broad" for "board") in a wide variety of tasks: oral reading, lexical decision, same-different decision, and letter location. The deficit is specific to orthographic material, and is manifested mainly in medial letter positions. The implications of the findings to models of reading and attention are discussed.
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The orthographic uniqueness point (OUP) of a word is introduced as the position of the Ist letter, reading from left to right, that distinguishes a word from all other printed words. In 3 experiments, observers named words that had early versus late OUPs. With unlimited viewing time, early-OUP words were named faster than late-OUP words. The effect disappeared in a delayed-naming task; hence, it was not associated with response production. The effect remained when exposure duration was reduced to limit eye movements. Results indicate that observers process; the letters of a word in left-to-right order, contrary to strictly parallel accounts of word identification.
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The experiment reported in this paper was designed to determine which part of a printed word is most useful to a reader as a basis for recognition of the whole word. Versions of ninety common English nouns were prepared in which typographical reversals were inserted at the beginning, middle or end of the word. These were then presented in a tachistoscope to subjects who were asked to recognize the words. The results of the experiment showed that an error in the beginning of a word is significantly more disruptive of recognition than an error in the middle or the end of a word and that an error at the end is more disruptive than an error in the middle.
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To examine why Averbach & Coriell (1961), in their experiment on short-term visual storage, found a "W* shaped error distribution over positions, their experiment was replicated, using as stimuli arrays of one row of eight letters, each followed by an indicator delayed from 0 to 3,200 msec informing S which of the eight letters to report. Further, on half of the 2,560 trials, parentheses were drawn around the array to simulate an equivalent amount of metacontrast for the end letters as for all of the others. The “W” shape was replicated with and without parentheses, although adding parentheses substantially reduced the accuracy of Positions 1 and 8, leaving the others virtually unaffected. No interaction was found between delay and position, nor did any change in the properties of visual or auditory confusion among the errors occur over positions, delays, or parentheses. The results all suggest that the “W” function is due strictly to better acuity for the middle items near fixation and less metacontrast for the end items. No hint was found that the pattern of errors might be due to processes related to encoding or to memory-maintenance variables.
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We report four experiments investigating the effects of repeated and transposed letters in orthographic processing. Orthographically related primes were formed by removing one letter from the target word, by transposing two adjacent letters, or by replacing two adjacent letters with different letters. Robust masked priming in a lexical decision task was found for primes formed by removing a single letter (e.g., mircle-MIRACLE), and this was not influenced by whether or not the prime contained a letter repetition (e.g., balace vs. balnce as a prime for BALANCE ). Target words containing a repeated letter tended to be harder to respond to than words without a letter repetition, but the nonwords formed by removing a repeated letter (e.g., BALNCE) were no harder to reject than nonwords formed by removing a non-repeated letter (e.g., MIRCLE, BALACE). Significant transposition priming effects were found for 7-letter words (e.g., sevriceSERVICE), and these priming effects did not vary as a function of the position of the transposition (initial, final, or inner letter pair). Priming effects disappeared when primes were formed by replacing the two transposed letters with different letters (e.g., sedlice-SERVICE), and fiveletter words only showed priming effects with inner letter transpositions (e.g.,
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Skilled readers read passages that were displayed on a Cathode Ray Tube controlled by a computer. The readers' eye movements were monitored and certain critical words were changed by the computer as the eye was in motion. The experimental technique utilized in the study provided data on how wide the area is from which a reader acquires information during a fixation in silent reading. The results also delineate different types of visual information that are acquired from various areas within the perceptual span. It was found that a reader was able to make a semantic interpretation of a word that began 1–6 character spaces from his fixation point. When he fixated 7–12 character spaces prior to a word, he was able to pick up such gross visual characteristics as word shape and initial and final letters. It was concluded that the skilled reader is able to take advantage of information in the periphery. However, the size of the area from which he does is rather small.
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Conducted 2 experiments, one with 12 6th graders considered to be good readers and one with 12 junior high and high school students who had normal IQs but were 2 yrs behind on standardized reading scores. Ss read passages of text which had been mutilated by changing the shape of the words and/or the initial, medial, or final letter of words. When the shape had been maintained by replacing letters with letters that shared distinctive features and were visually confusable with them, less reading time was taken and fewer errors were made than when the shape had been altered by replacing letters with letters that were not visually confusable with them. In addition, mutilations to the beginning of a word were considerably more disruptive than mutilations to the middle or end of a word. Good readers and poor readers showed highly similar data patterns. (15 ref)
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Our goal is to link spatial and temporal properties of letter recognition to reading speed for text viewed centrally or in peripheral vision. We propose that the size of the visual span — the number of letters recognizable in a glance — imposes a fundamental limit on reading speed, and that shrinkage of the visual span in peripheral vision accounts for slower peripheral reading. In Experiment 1, we estimated the size of the visual span in the lower visual field by measuring RSVP (rapid serial visual presentation) reading times as a function of word length. The size of the visual span decreased from at least 10 letters in central vision to 1.7 letters at 15° eccentricity, in good agreement with the corresponding reduction of reading speed measured by Chung and coworkers (Chung, S. T. L., Mansfield, J. S., & Legge, G. E. (1998). Psychophysics of reading. XVIII. The effect of print size on reading speed in normal peripheral vision. Vision Research, 38, 2949–2962). In Exp. 2, we measured letter recognition for trigrams (random strings of three letters) as a function of their position on horizontal lines passing through fixation (central vision) or displaced downward into the lower visual field (5, 10 and 20°). We also varied trigram presentation time. We used these data to construct visual-span profiles of letter accuracy versus letter position. These profiles were used as input to a parameter-free model whose output was RSVP reading speed. A version of this model containing a simple lexical-matching rule accounted for RSVP reading speed in central vision. Failure of this version of the model in peripheral vision indicated that people rely more on lexical inference to support peripheral reading. We conclude that spatiotemporal characteristics of the visual span limit RSVP reading speed in central vision, and that shrinkage of the visual span results in slower reading in peripheral vision.
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The definition of orthographic neighbour (Coltheart et al., 1977) was analysed in two experiments using a variety of the three-field technique (Humphreys et al., 1988). With this technique, a clearly visible prime (in lower-case letters) is followed by a briefly presented upper-case word which is immediately masked. Pairs of five-letter neighbouring words were selected. Only orthographically related pairs that differed from the prime by the third letter (womenWOVEN) or the fourth letter (frost-FRONT) showed (inhibitory) relatedness effects compared with an unrelated word condition. The results suggest that models of visual word recognition should be modified to address the fact that some letter positions are more important than others.
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1. The Approach 2. The Topic 3. Single-item Detection and Recognition Tasks with Latency as the Dependent Variable 4. Single-item Detection and Recognition Tasks with Accuracy as the Dependent Variable 5. Multiple-item Detection and Recognition Tasks with Accuracy as the Dependent Variable 6. Multiple-item Detection and Recognition Tasks With Latency as the Dependent Variable 7. Information Processing 8. Attention, Expectation and Intention
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Eye movements were recorded to determine whether the parafoveally visible orthographic body of a bisyllabic target word facilitated recognition during the next target fixation. Eye-movement-contingent display changes revealed part of the target, including its orthographic body, or its beginning letters, when it was parafoveally available, but the full target was visible after it was fixated. Target viewing durations showed no benefit from parafoveal preview of orthographic bodies. Instead, preview benefits derived primarily from the preview of word-initial letters. Examination of oculomotor activity revealed that single target fixations were common when the pretarget word received more than one fixation; conversely, more than one target fixation was common when the pretarget word had received a single fixation. Interword fixation strategies thus affected target viewing, but use of parafoveal target previews was unaffected by these strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Presented pairs of 8-letter sequences, zero-order or 2nd-order approximations to English, for 50, 125, or 200 msec. The materials were masked 0, 75, or 125 msec. after the offset of the initial presentation. By adding exposure duration to the delay of the masking stimulus, it was possible to compute the total time material available for processing in iconic memory. Accuracy of report increased monotonically as a function of processing time, and the rate of increase (to an asymptote at about 200 msec.) was greater for 2nd-order sequences. In Exp. II single zero-order and 4th-order approximations to English were presented for 40 msec. and were masked on either the left side (Letters 1-4) or the right side (Letters 5-8) after a delay of 0, 20, 40, 60, or 80 msec. In general, masking the left side reduced accuracy more than masking the right side, but as the delay of mask was increased, accuracy of identification increased and the difference between masking on the left and on the right decreased. Taken together, the results suggest that familiar letter sequences are input to memory more rapidly than are random letter strings and that the input mechanism proceeds sequentially from left to right. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The orthographic uniqueness point (OUP) of a word is introduced as the position of the 1st letter, reading from left to right, that distinguishes a word from all other printed words. In 3 experiments, observers named words that had early versus late OUPs. With unlimited viewing time, early-OUP words were named faster than late-OUP words. The effect disappeared in a delayed-naming task; hence, it was not associated with response production. The effect remained when exposure duration was reduced to limit eye movements. Results indicate that observers process the letters of a word in left-to-right order, contrary to strictly parallel accounts of word identification. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Three experiments, involving 19 members of a university community, examined the functions of spaces between words in the reading of text. Certain spaces in stimulus sentences were filled contingent upon the reader's fixation: all spaces to the right of fixation, all spaces to the right of fixation except in the 1st, or only the 1st space to the right of fixation. Several space-filling characters were used: random letters, random digits, and "gratings." In addition, the onset of the space fillers was delayed 0–250 msec into the fixation. In the 1st-space-preserved conditions, the space fillers had no effect if they were delayed more than 50 msec, and there was little difference in the amount of interference resulting from the various space-filling characters. In the other 2 conditions, the space fillers produced interference at all delays studied, and letters were considerably more interfering as space fillers than were digits or gratings. Results are consistent with a 2-process theory in which filling parafoveal spaces disrupts the guidance of the next eye movement and filling foveal spaces disrupts the processing of the fixated word as well. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Conducted 4 experiments with a total of 68 6th graders to test the hypothesis that spatial redundancy (i.e., positional frequency) is a specific form of redundancy that can be used to augment visual feature information in the identification of individual letters. Ss were classified as either good or poor readers by the Wide Range Achievement Test. Results from all 4 experiments support the hypothesis and indicate that (a) spatial redundancy is more important in synthesis of the letters (target trials) than it is in search and comparison, and (b) good and poor readers are differentiated on target trials at the level of utilization of spatial redundancy but not at the level of utilization of distinctive visual features. In all 4 experiments, poor readers were consistently insensitive to the manipulated redundancy variables. Results are discussed in terms of the role of spatial information in providing the orthographic structure that facilitates reading of an alphabetic writing system and in terms of an acceptable model of letter and word recognition. (35 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The ability to read is supported by the existence of codes that represent the orthographic, phonological, and semantic properties of words. This thesis addresses the issue of how orthographic codes are self-organised. This question is explored using a combination of theoretical and computational approaches, leading to the introduction of a new computational model of Visual word recognition. The thesis begins with a review and critique of existing models of visual word recognition, with particular reference to their inability to satisfy adaptive constraints. This analysis highlights the inability of current models to explain self-organisation processes or to operate in real-world input environments. Subsequent chapters review neural networks for pattern recognition, learning and working memory, focussing on the work of Grossberg and colleagues. Two specific networks-the masking field network and its extension, the SONNET network-exhibit adaptive properties that are lacking in current models of visual word recognition. The SOLAR (Self-Organising Lexical Acquisition and Recognition) model is a new neural network model of visual word recognition that embodies self-organisation and masking principles. The model differs from previous models in its capacity for stable self-organisation, its spatial coding scheme, its combination of serial and parallel processes, and its chunking mechanism. The model also introduces a novel mechanism to explain word frequency effects. Another distinctive feature of the model is its incorporation of a novel opponent processing mechanism for performing lexical decision. The SOLAR model explains a broad range of empirical data, including frequency effects, the lexical status effect, length effects, facilitatory and inhibitory effects of orthographic Similarity, the pseudohomophone effect, masked and unmasked repetition priming effects, the frequency attenuation effect, and left-to-right processing effects. Simulations have also demonstrated the model's ability to recognise complex stimuli (e.g., polysyllabic words) via a chunking mechanism that implements segmentation-through-recognition. This poses a critical challenge to alternative computational models, which are restricted to processing monosyllabic words. The SOLAR model also generates a number of novel empirical predictions. The final chapter discusses how the model might be extended to incorporate phonological codes, and the implications for explaining reading performance in skilled and dyslexic readers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
85 college students and faculty members participated in 6 experiments designed to generate predictions for word-recognition latencies for the independent parallel model of word recognition based on letter-naming latencies in 2 display conditions. In one condition, the inside 2 letters of 4-letter words were presented 50 msec in advance of the presentation of the whole word. In the other condition, the outside 2 letters were presented 50 msec in advance. The model predicts that the 2 conditions should yield roughly equal recognition latencies, but prior presentation of the outside letters led to faster recognition. It is concluded (1) that the dependent parallel models that employ intraword context become increasingly independent as the quality of the available visual information improves and (2) that for foveally fixated words in normal reading, independence is likely to be the norm. (49 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
In 5 experiments with a total of 32 Ss, exterior letter pairs from 4-letter words (e.g., d  k from dark) were presented in pattern-postmasked displays, in the positions they would occupy if the whole word were shown. In Exp 1, letter pairs ( d  k) were reported more accurately than single letters ( d) (the pair–letter effect). In Exps 2 and 3, performances with letter pairs dropped to those for single letters when each letter in a pair was masked individually or when masks were much wider than letter pairs. In Exps 4 and 5, the pair–letter effect and mask influence were both removed when one letter in each pair was replaced by a number sign ( d  #) or when letter pairs were not the exterior letters of real words (e.g., y  f). These findings suggest that the exterior letter combinations of words are represented psychologically and access to these representations is affected by mask configuration. Implications for current word-recognition models are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
two experiments are reported which examine some of the boundary conditions under which orthographic priming occurs (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Experiments were performed with 3 Ss that demonstrate some of the functional properties of short-term shortage in the visual system, its decay, readout, and erasure. Results indicate that the visual process involves a buffer shortage which includes an erasure mechanism that is local in character and tends to erase stored information when new information is put in. Storage time appears to be of the order of ¼ second; storage capacity is more difficult to assess. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
We investigate whether orthographic processes influence the identification and encoding of letter position within letter strings. To minimise word-specific effects, we adopt a visual letter search task that requires participants to identify a cued letter target among a random five-letter string. Using this paradigm, previous studies have shown that letter targets to the left are identified faster than those to the right of centre and letter targets in the initial, medial and final positions are identified faster than those in neighbouring positions. While the medial letter advantage is likely to arise from greater visual acuity at the point of fixation, the mechanisms responsible for the left-to-right, and exterior, letter advantage have yet to be determined. We show that: (i) search functions for most letters reflect the directional scanning process required for reading English orthography; (ii) search times are significantly faster for letter targets that appear in the most, compared with the least, frequent position in written words; and (iii) search times correlate significantly with positional letter frequency, especially in the initial and final positions. We propose that a combination of low-level visual, and higher-level orthographic, processes modulate the encoding of letter identities and position in written word recognition.
Article
Subjects made timed manual responses in judging whether laterally presented four-letter words were identical to targets. In Experiment 1, nontargets differed by a single letter from targets. A right-field superiority occurred only for targets (which were detected fastest of all) and for nontargets where a letter changed at Position 2 or Position 3. Changes at initial and final positions were detected faster than the two middle positions, and there were no significant field differences. In Experiment 2, ascenders and descenders were controlled and changes were made in nontargets at all four letter positions, at Positions 1 and 4, at Positions 2 and 3, or at 2 alone. Response times for nontargets varied inversely with the number of differing letters, regardless of position. Significant field differences again only appeared for changes in the two middle positions. Letters at the beginning and end of a word seem to be processed faster than and differently from those within, where field differences are strongest. Vowel-consonant differences probably do not account for these effects, which are more compatible with some form of parallel, rather than either serial or holistic, processing.