Effect of grammatical gender on visual word recognition: Evidence from lexical decision and eye movement experiments


  • Colé Pascale
  • Pynte J
  • Andriamamonjy P

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Lexical decision times and eye movements were recorded to determine whether grammatical gender can influence the visual recognition of isolated French nouns. This issue was investigated by assessing the use of two types of regularities between a noun's form and its gender-namely ending-to-gender regularities (e.g., the final letter sequence -at appears only in masculine nouns and, thus, is predictive of masculine gender) and gender-to-ending regularities (e.g., feminine gender would predict the final letter e, whereas masculine gender would not). Previous studies have shown that noun endings are used by readers when they have to identify gender. However, the influence of ending-to-gender predictiveness has never been investigated in a lexical decision task, and the effect of gender-to-ending regularities has never been evaluated at all. The results suggest that gender information can influence both the activation stage (Experiments 1 and 3) and the selection stage (Experiments 2 and 3) of the word recognition process.

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