The lazy Visual Word Form Area: computational insights into location-sensitivity


  • Hannagan Thomas
  • Grainger Jonathan


  • Word recognition
  • White noise
  • Simulation and modeling
  • Object recognition
  • Semantics
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Visual system
  • Vocabulary

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Most models of reading aloud have been constructed to explain data in relatively complex orthographies like English and French. Here, we created an Italian version of the Connectionist Dual Process Model of Reading Aloud (CDP++) to examine the extent to which the model could predict data in a language which has relatively simple orthography-phonology relationships but is relatively complex at a suprasegmental (word stress) level. We show that the model exhibits good quantitative performance and accounts for key phenomena observed in naming studies, including some apparently contradictory findings. These effects include stress regularity and stress consistency, both of which have been especially important in studies of word recognition and reading aloud in Italian. Overall, the results of the model compare favourably to an alternative connectionist model that can learn non-linear spelling-to-sound mappings. This suggests that CDP++ is currently the leading computational model of reading aloud in Italian, and that its simple linear learning mechanism adequately captures the statistical regularities of the spelling-to-sound mapping both at the segmental and supra-segmental levels.

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