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Letters in words are read simultaneously, not in left-to-right sequence

By James S. Adelman, Suzanne J. Marquis and Maura G. Sabatos-DeVito


The identification of individual letters is necessary for reading words in alphabetic\ud script (Pelli, Farell, & Moore, 2003). Sequential models of letter processing (Whitney,\ud 2001) in reading words posit an initial left-to-right sequence of letter processing (in\ud left-to-right languages, such as English), each letter taking 10–25 ms to process before the\ud next is processed. In contrast, simultaneous models of letter processing (e.g., Tydgat &\ud Grainger, 2009) in reading words posit that information about the identity of each letter\ud starts to be extracted at the same time point, regardless of horizontal position. Here we\ud show that people reading four-letter words do not extract identity information for any\ud letter from an 18 ms display of the word, but some information about all four letters is\ud available from 24 ms of display. Our results indicate that a left-to-right sequence of\ud attention across letters is not used in establishing the cognitive representation of words.\ud Instead, all letters are processed simultaneously

Topics: QP
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:4533

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