[PS-1.7] Lexical masked priming in hearing and deaf readers: orthographic and phonological effects

Martins, A. 1, 2 , Costa, A. 1, 2 & Verhaeghe, A. 3

1 University of Lisbon/Faculty of Letters
2 UL/Linguistic Research Center
3 University of Lisbon/Faculty of Psychology

The role of orthographic and phonological codes during visual word recognition(VWR) was tested in two groups of severely to profoundly Portuguese deaf readers with different reading level, and in skilled hearing readers through a masked priming lexical decision task. Using pseudowords and pseudohomophones as primes, we elaborated four experimental conditions, manipulating the quantity of Orthographic and Phonological features shared between prime and target: gusâmea(unrelated); ciléguo(O-P-); culéjio(O-P+); coléjio(O+P+) / COLÉGIO. The prime was displayed for 40ms and 64ms, trying to grasp the course of the integration of orthographic and phonological information.
Results showed: (i) globally, less proficient deaf readers were slower, regardless of experimental conditions; ii) contrary to results from other languages, hearing and deaf readers showed activation of phonological codes during VWR at 64ms; iii) unexpectedly, orthographic effects only appeared at 64ms, which can be due to characteristics of Portuguese orthography leading to small orthographic differences between pseudohomophone and word, compared to deeper orthographies; iv) skilled deaf readers had a priming pattern more similar to the one of hearing readers, compared to less proficient deaf readers.
This investigation suggests that reading difficulties in highly schooled deaf readers may not arise only from the encoding processes they use during word recognition.