Locus of orthographic effects in spoken word recognition: Novel insights from the neighbour generation task


  • Muneaux M
  • Ziegler J

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Previous research has found that orthographic information can influence auditory word recognition. However, there is still debate about the locus of this effect (lexical versus nonlexical, strategic versus automatic). In the present study, we explored whether orthographic effects in auditory word recognition could be structural-residual effects that reflect changes in the quality or specificity of phonological representations during learning to read. To address this possibility, the neighbour generation task was used. This task is particularly well suited to explore the off-line nature of phonological representations. Indeed, in two experiments, we found that orthographic information affected the nature of phonological representations. Participants produced phonographic neighbours (i.e., words that share both orthographic and phonological neighbourhoods) significantly more often than would be expected by chance. The existence of an orthography effect in an off-line phonological task therefore suggests that orthographic information participates in the specification of phonological representations.

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