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OS_30. Orthographic processing

Sunday, October 02nd,   2011 [09:30 - 11:10]


OS_30.1 - Effect of graphomotor demands on the time course of spelling: The syllable case

Sausset, S. , Lambert, E. & Olive, T.

Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition et l'Apprentissage (CeRCA), CNRS UMR 6234, University of Poitiers, Poitiers, France

This study investigated the influence of graphomotor demands on the time course of spelling. We hypothesized that with low graphomotor demands, the syllables of a word are processed before writing the word, whereas with high graphomotor demands, each syllable is processed just before being written down. The experiment involved four conditions with increasing graphomotor demands: lowercase script, uppercase script, uppercase script with large letters, uppercase script with large letters without visual feedback. Participants copied three times successively 2- and 3-syllable words. We measured the latencies before copies 2 and 3, and duration of the inter-letter intervals within the first syllable and at the boundary before the second syllable. With low graphomotor demands, the latencies were longer than when the demands were higher; the effect of the number of syllables was significant only for the low demanding conditions. The between-syllable inter-letter interval was longer than the within-syllable inter-letter interval, particularly with high graphomotor demands. The findings indicate that with low graphomotor demands syllables are processed before graphomotor execution of the word. With high graphomotor demands each syllable is processed just before being written. These findings are interpreted in a cascading model.

OS_30.2 - Are there really two syllables in the written word chaos?

Chetail, F. & Content, A.

LCLD, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

The nature of functional orthographic units is a central issue in visual word recognition, especially with long multisyllabic words. Although syllable-sized units appear plausible and their role is supported by various strands of evidence, the processes and the cues determining orthographic grouping remain far from clear. Here, we investigated the role of letter category (consonant vs. vowels) in the perceptual organization of letter strings by examining French readers’ judgements of syllabic length. Participants were presented with written words matched for the number of spoken syllables and comprising a vowel hiatus or not (e.g. pharaon vs. vagabond). Relative to control words, readers were slower and less accurate for hiatus words for which they systematically underestimated the number of syllables (Experiment 1). The effect was stronger when the instructions emphasized response speed (Experiment 2). It was even more pronounced when the resort to phonological codes was hindered through articulatory suppression (Experiment 3). Taken together, these results show that the perceptual units extracted from visual letter strings and from spoken words need not correspond to each other. We discuss the implications of this lack of isomorphism between spoken syllables and orthographic units in view of current theories of visual and spoken word recognition.

OS_30.3 - Is the go/no-go lexical decision task preferable to the yes/no task with developing readers?

Moret-Tatay, C. 1, 2 , Perea, M. 2 & Rosa, E. 1

1 Universidad Católica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain
2 Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain

The lexical decision task is probably the most common laboratory visual-word identification task. In the usual setup, participants have to press “yes” when the stimulus is a word and “no” when the stimulus is not a word. A number of studies have employed this task with developing readers; however, error rates and/or response times tend to be quite high. One way to make the task easier for young readers is by employing a go/no-go procedure: “if word, press ‘yes’; if not, refrain from responding” (see Perea, Rosa, & Gomez, 2002, M&C, for the advantages of the go/no-go lexical decision task with adult skilled readers). Here we conducted a lexical decision experiment that compared the yes/no and go/no-go variants of the lexical decision task with developing readers (2nd and 4th grade children). Results showed that: i) error rates for words and nonwords were much lower in the go/no-go task than in the yes/no task, ii) lexical decision times were substantially faster in the go/no-go task, and iii) for high-frequency words, there was less variability in the latency data of the go/no-go task. Thus, the go/no-go lexical decision task is preferable to the “standard” yes/no task when conducting experiments with developing readers.

OS_30.4 - Emotional valence of the neighbour and prime duration influence orthographic priming: An ERP investigation

Gobin, P. 1 , Faïta-Aïnseba, F. 2 & Mathey, S. 1

1 Université Bordeaux Segalen, Laboratoire de Psychologie Santé et Qualité de Vie, EA4139
2 Université Bordeaux Segalen, Laboratoire Cognition et Facteurs Humains, EA 487

The aim of the study was to investigate whether the time course of the orthographic priming effect depends on the emotional valence of the orthographic neighbour and on prime duration. Target words were presented in a primed lexical decision task in which event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded. The neutral targets (e.g., GICLER [squirt], TINTER [ring]) had only one higher-frequency orthographic neighbour. This neighbour was negative for half of the targets (e.g., gifler [slap]) and neutral for the other half (e.g., tenter [tempt]). Target words were preceded by their neighbour or by a non-alphabetic control prime. Two prime durations of 66 ms (Experiment 1) and 166 ms (Experiment 2) were used. In Experiment 1, the results showed an orthographic priming effect on three ERP components (P150, N200 and N400), modulated by the negative valence of the orthographic neighbour. In Experiment 2, the same components were influenced by the orthographic priming effect but their latency was shorter and their amplitude increased. Moreover, the emotional valence of the neighbour no longer influenced the time course of the orthographic priming effect. Taken together, these results suggest early activation of the affective system whose involvement decreases during word processing.

OS_30.5 - Pirates at parties: Letter position coding in developing readers

Castles, A. 1, 2 & Kohnen, S. 1, 2

1 Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
2 ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Several cases of developmental letter-position dyslexia have recently been reported, in which the primary symptom is a preponderance of letter-position errors on “migratable” words, (e.g., ‘beard’ read as ‘bread’; Friedmann & Rahamin, 2007). This reading profile has been attributed to a specific impairment in the encoding of letter position. However, it is difficult to evaluate this claim in the absence of data on the extent to which normally-developing readers make such errors and how they relate to other aspects of reading progress. In this study, children in Grades 2, 3 and 4 were tested on migratable words, as well as on letter processing, lexical and nonlexical processing, and lexical “guessing”. Errors on migratable words were prevalent in developing readers, and the proportion of such errors did not decrease with increasing Grade level. However, they were not associated with deficits in other reading processes or with lexical guessing. We conclude that a reading profile characterised by a high proportion of migration errors may not necessarily be indicative of a reading disorder and may reflect an optimally-tuned reading system.

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