Visual phonology: The effects of orthographic consistency on different auditory word recognition tasks


  • Ziegler J
  • Ferrand L
  • Montant M

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In this study, we investigated orthographic influences on spoken word recognition. The degree of spelling inconsistency was manipulated while rime phonology was held constant. Inconsistent words with subdominant spellings were processed more slowly than inconsistent words with dominant spellings. This graded consistency effect was obtained in three experiments. However, the effect was strongest in lexical decision, intermediate in rime detection, and weakest in auditory naming. We conclude that (1) orthographic consistency effects are not artifacts of phonological, phonetic, or phonotactic properties of the stimulus material; (2) orthographic effects can be found even when the error rate is extremely low, which rules out the possibility that they result from strategies used to reduce task difficulty; and (3) orthographic effects are not restricted to lexical decision. However, they are stronger in lexical decision than in other tasks. Overall, the study shows that learning about orthography alters the way we process spoken language.

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