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Visual-word recognition: The state of the art.

Friday, September 30th,   2011 [08:30 - 10:30]

SY_03. Visual-word recognition: The state of the art

Perea, M.

Universitat de València

The area of visual-word recognition is a very active field in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, and a number of computational models have been proposed in the past years (including some models from the speakers in this symposium). In past ESCOP conferences, there have been other symposia in this same area (organized by Jonathan Grainger and Colin Davis since the ESCOP meeting in Granada), and we believe that the proposed talks will be of interest to the other participants of the ESCOP.



SY_03.1 - Dissociating encoding and decisional components in visual-word recognition: A diffusion model account

Gomez, P. 1 , Perea, M. 2 & Moret-Tatay, C. 2, 3

1 De Paul University, Chicago, USA
2 Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain
3 Universidad Católica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Although the diffusion model has been quite successful at accounting for lexical decision data (e.g., Ratcliff, Gomez, & McKoon, 2002), there is a central assumption of the model that has not been systematically explored: the distinction between the encoding time (Ter parameter), and the quality of the evidence (drift rate). A common criticism of the diffusion model approach is that \"everything goes to drift rate\". We present a series of experiments that attempt to validate the model by employing manipulations that presumably affect encoding but not drift rate. We present data from masked priming experiments as well as from manipulations that affect the perceptual encoding of the words (e.g., stimulus rotations, stimuli presented with different inter-letter spacings).

SY_03.2 - Three languages, thousands of words, one model: Simulating the DLP, ELP, and FLP

Norris, D. 1 & Kinoshita, S. 2

1 (1) MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK
2 MACCS, Macquarie University, Australia

We report simulations of the lexical decision data from the English, French and Dutch Lexicon Projects - a total of over 60,000 words. The simulations use a noisy channel version of the Bayesian Reader. We focus on the different pattern of neighbourhood effects found in the three languages. For example, the English Language Project exhibits larger neighbourhood effects than the Dutch or French Projects. However, interpretation of the differences is complicated by differences in experimental procedures. The simulations suggest that there are genuine differences in lexical structure between the three languages and that these are further amplified by the use of different nonwords in the three Projects.

SY_03.3 - The first findings on the basis of the British Lexicon Project

Brysbaert, M. , Keuleers, E. & Diependaele, K.

Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

We have collected a new database of lexical decision times for English words and non-words, in which two groups of British participants each responded to 14,365 monosyllabic and disyllabic words and the same number of non-words for a total duration of 16 hours (divided over multiple sessions). This database, called the British Lexicon Project (BLP), fills an important gap between the Dutch Lexicon Project (DLP) and the English Lexicon Project (ELP), because it applies the repeated measures design of DLP to the English language. The high correlation between the BLP and ELP data indicates that a high percentage of variance in lexical decision datasets is systematic variance rather than noise, and that the results of word recognition megastudies are rather robust with respect to the selection and presentation of the stimuli. Because of its design, BLP makes the same analyses possible as DLP, offering researchers with a new interesting dataset of word processing times for mixed effects analyses and mathematical modeling. In this talk we present the outcome of the first analyses we made.

SY_03.4 - An investigation of the role of grapheme units in word recognition

Lupker, S. J. 1 , Acha, J. 2 , Davis, C. J. 3 & Perea, M. 4

1 University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
2 Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), Donostia, Spain
3 Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, UK
4 Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain

In most current models of word recognition, word units are assumed to be activated by letter units. An alternative possibility is that word units are activated by grapheme units, that is, that graphemes, rather than letters, are the building blocks of reading. If so, there must be representational units for letter pairs like “ch” and “ph” in the system. We examined this idea in four masked priming experiments. Primes were created by transposing, replacing entirely or removing one component of either multi-letter graphemes or two adjacent letters that each represented a grapheme, with both English and Spanish stimuli. In none of the experiments was there any evidence of differential priming effects depending on whether the two letters being manipulated formed a single grapheme or formed two separate graphemes. These data are most consistent with the idea that multi-letter graphemes have no special status at the earliest stages of word processing and, therefore, that word units are, indeed, activated by units for individual letters.

SY_03.5 - ERP evidence for mental rotation of letter strings in an alphabetic decision task

Duñabeitia, J. A. , Molinaro, N. & Carreiras, M.

Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), Donostia, Spain

Recently Duñabeitia, Molinaro and Carreiras (2011, Neuroimage) showed that readers perceive mirror-words as if they were correctly oriented at initial stages of word recognition processes. In order to further examine whether word enantiomorphs (lateral reversals of words in a mirrored style) are processed as canonical word representations during early stages of visual processing, we conducted a masked priming alphabetic decision experiment while recording participants’ electrophysiological brain responses to letter and pseudo-letter strings briefly preceded by correctly oriented and mirrored repetition or control masked primes. Participants were simply asked to identify whether or not the displayed strings were made of existing or invented characters by pressing buttons on a response box. On the one hand, our results showed an N250 masked priming effect for related (normally oriented and mirrored) primes, as compared to the unrelated control conditions (i.e., a mirror priming effect), when the targets were real words made of existing letters. On the other hand, the correctly oriented identical primes elicited a N250 masked repetition priming effect that was significantly different from the effect elicited by mirrored repetition primes (a canonicity effect) for word targets. Besides, effects associated to the mirroring of the letters in the masked primes were observed in the N100 and N/P150 components. These results highlight the ability of the human visual system to tolerate mirror reversals when processing known printed materials.

SY_03.6 - Printed Words: These Extraordinary Visual Objects

Grainger, J.

Aix-Marseille University & CNRS, Marseille, France

In this talk I will present an overview of recent research examining the role of visual factors in printed word perception, and the extent to which basic processes in visual word recognition mimic basic processes in visual object identification (Dehaene’s “neuronal recycling hypothesis”). The wide variety of research that I will summarize adopts a common strategy involving the systematic comparison of processes involved in identifying printed words and other kinds of visual object, and comparing letter string processing with the processing of strings of other types of visual stimuli such as symbols and digits. Specifically, I will summarize research on: 1) Crowding and letter-in-string identification (in collaboration with M. Chanceaux); 2) The role of visual short-term memory in letter string processing (in collaboration with M. Ktori); 3) Processing speed of words and objects measured with the saccade-choice paradigm (in collaboration with M. Chanceaux, S. Thorpe, and F. Vitu,); 4) Event-related potentials (ERPs) generated by line drawings of common objects and words written in alphabetic and logographic scripts (in collaboration with C. Yum and P. Holcomb); and 5) Computational investigations of the neuronal recycling hypothesis (in collaboration with T. Hannagan).

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