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Visual word expertise: a study of inversion and the word-length effect, with perceptual transforms
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
University of British Columbia, Canada.
University of British Columbia, Canada .
University of British Columbia, Canada .
2014 (English)In: Perception, ISSN 0301-0066, E-ISSN 1468-4233, Vol. 43, no 5, 438-450 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The word-length effect may indicate whether reading is proceeding in an efficient whole-word fashion or by serial letter processing. If it is an index of an orientation-dependent expert reading mechanism, then it should show an inversion effect, with a large difference between upright and upside-down text that is specific for normally configured text. We measured response time of healthy subjects reading 3- to 9-letter words presented in normal configuration, in mirror reflection or spelt backward, in either upright or inverted orientation. The word-length effect showed an inversion effect specific for normal text, as it was not seen for either backward or mirrored text, a result that differed from that for simple mean response times. Also, the word-length effect was smaller for backward than for mirrored text, suggesting that reading of transformed text uses primarily local letters rather than global word forms. We conclude that the word-length effect is a suitable index of expert reading, and reveals that reading under perceptually difficult conditions relies on a sublexical letter-based strategy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Pion: Perception , 2014. Vol. 43, no 5, 438-450 p.
Keyword [en]
reading; expertise; transformation; orientation; letter
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109399DOI: 10.1068/p7698ISI: 000339229800007PubMedID: 25109010OAI: diva2:738020
Available from: 2014-08-15 Created: 2014-08-15 Last updated: 2014-09-18Bibliographically approved

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