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Department of Cognitive Science

Cogntive Science Alumni

Anna Woollams

Anna Woollams

Thesis Details

Interactions between semantics and phonology in visual word recognition and reading aloud

Although a substantial body of knowledge has developed regarding how we can recognise written words and read them aloud, the importance of meaning level information in these processes has been relatively neglected. This research explored semantic influences on written language processing by considering interactions phonological variables and semantic variables amongst skilled adult readers. The phonological variables were body-rime consistency, which compared consistently pronounced words like cope to inconsistently pronounced words like trough and individual differences in the ability of the participants to read aloud nonsense words like translibslodge. These variables mediated the influence of semantic factors like imageability, which refers to how easily one can form a mental picture of a word’s meaning, and ambiguity, which refers to the number of distinct meanings a word has. Across a number of different written language processing tasks, significant semantic effects were seen for inconsistent words, and these were larger for poorer nonword readers. These findings clearly indicate the need to incorporate realistic semantic representations into existing computational models of visual word recognition and reading aloud.

  • Type:
  • Scholarship : APA
  • Supervisors : Associate Professor Sachiko Kinoshita, Professor Max Coltheart and Professor Sally Andrews.