On the noisy spatiotopic encoding of word positions during reading: Evidence from the change detection task


  • Grainger Jonathan


  • Reading
  • Word position
  • Spatiotopic representations
  • Change detection
  • Transposedwords

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The present study builds on our prior work showing evidence for noisy word position coding in an immediate same-different matching task. In that research, participants found it harder to judge that two successive brief presentations of five-word sequences were different when the difference was caused by transposing two adjacent words compared with different word replacementsa transposition effect. Here we used the change detection task with a one second delay introduced between sequences-a task thought to tap into visual short-term memory. Concurrent articulation was used to limit the contribution of active rehearsal. We used standard response time (RT) and error rate analyses plus signal detection theory (SDT) measures of discriminability (d') and bias (c). We compared the transposition effects for ungrammatical word sequences and nonword sequences observed with these different measures. Although there was some evidence for transposition effects with nonwords, the effects were much larger with word sequences. These findings provide further support for the hypothesized noisy assignment of word identities to spatiotopic locations along a line of text during reading.

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