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Neighborhood frequency effects and letter visibility in visual word recognition

, : Neighborhood frequency effects and letter visibility in visual word recognition. Perception & Psychophysics 51(1): 49-56

Two experiments are described that measured lexical decision latencies and errors to five-letter French words with a single higher frequency orthographic neighbor and control words with no higher frequency neighbors. The higher frequency neighbor differed from the stimulus word by either the second letter (e.g., ASTRE-AUTRE) or the fourth letter (CHOPE-CHOSE). Neighborhood frequency effects were found to interact with this factor, and significant interference was observed only to CHOPE-type words. The effects of neighborhood frequency were also found to interact with the position of initial fixation in the stimulus word (either the second letter or the fourth letter). Interference was greatly reduced when the initial fixation was on the critical disambiguating letter (i.e., the letter P in CHOPE). Moreover, word recognition was improved when subjects initially fixated the second letter relative to when they initially fixated the fourth letter of a five-letter word, but this second-letter advantage practically disappeared when the stimulus differed from a more frequent word by its fourth letter. The results are interpreted in terms of the interaction between visual and lexical factors in visual work recognition.


PMID: 1549424

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