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On the role of competing word units in visual word recognition: The neighborhood frequency effect

Current models of word recognition generally assume that word units orthographically similar to a stimulus word are involved in the visual recognition of this word. This set is referred to as an "orthographic neighborhood." Two experiments investigated the ways in which the composition of this neighborhood can affect word recognition. Data from 40 French undergraduates indicate that the presence in the neighborhood of at least 1 unit of higher frequency than the stimulus word itself results in interference in stimulus word processing. Lexical decision latencies (Exp 1) and gaze durations (Exp 2) to words with a neighbor of higher frequency were significantly longer than to words without a more frequent neighbor. Types of candidate selection processes postulated by models of visual word recognition are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)



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