Letter perception: from pixels to pandemonium


  • Grainger Jonathan
  • Rey Arnaud
  • Dufau Stéphane

document type



In 1959, Oliver Selfridge proposed a model of letter perception, the Pandemonium model, in which the central hypothesis was that letters are identified via their component features. Although a consensus developed around this general approach over the years, key evidence in its favor remained lacking. Recent research has started to provide important evidence in favor of feature-based letter perception, describing the nature of the features, and the time-course of processes involved in mapping features onto abstract letter identities. There is now hope that future 'pandemonium-like' models will be able to account for the rich empirical database on letter identification that has accumulated over the past 50 years, hence solving one key component of the reading process.

more information