The word-length effect in reading: A review
2014 (English)In: Cognitive Neuropsychology, ISSN 0264-3294, E-ISSN 1464-0627, Vol. 31, no 5-6, 378-412 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The finding that visual processing of a word correlates with the number of its letters has an extensive history. In healthy subjects, a variety of methods, including perceptual thresholds, naming and lexical decision times, and ocular motor parameters, show modest effects that interact with high-order effects like frequency. Whether this indicates serial processing of letters under some conditions or indexes low-level visual factors related to word length is unclear. Word-length effects are larger in pure alexia, where they probably reflect a serial letter-by-letter strategy, due to failure of lexical whole-word processing and variable dysfunction in letter encoding. In pure alexia, the word-length effect is systematically related to mean naming latency, with the word-length effect becoming proportionally greater as naming latency becomes more delayed in severe cases. Other conditions may also generate enhanced word-length effects. This occurs in right hemianopia: Computer simulations suggest a criterion of 160 ms/letter to distinguish hemianopic dyslexia from pure alexia. Normal reading development is accompanied by a decrease in word-length effects, whereas persistently elevated word-length effects are characteristic of developmental dyslexia. Little is known about word-length effects in other reading disorders. We conclude that the word-length effect captures the efficiency of the perceptual reading process in development, normal reading, and a number of reading disorders, even if its mechanistic implications are not always clear.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor and Francis (Routledge): STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Titles , 2014. Vol. 31, no 5-6, 378-412 p.
Object recognition; Visual word; Alexia; Hemianopia; Confusability
Other Medical Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-110294DOI: 10.1080/02643294.2014.895314ISI: 000340254900002PubMedID: 24665973OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-110294DiVA: diva2:743995
Funding Agencies|Canada Research Chair; Marianne Koerner Chair in Brain Diseases2014-09-052014-09-052014-09-05