A transposed-word effect on word-in-sequence identification


  • Wen Yun
  • Mirault Jonathan
  • Grainger Jonathan


  • Transposed words
  • Rapid parallel visual presentation RPVP
  • Parallel processing
  • Interactive processing
  • Reading

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The present study investigated transposed-word effects in a post-cued word-in-sequence identification experiment. Five horizontally aligned words were simultaneously presented for a brief duration and followed by a backward mask and cue for the position of the word to be identified within the sequence. The five-word sequences could form a grammatically correct sentence (e.g., The boy can run fast), an ungrammatical transposed-word sequence (e.g., The can boy run fast) or an ungrammatical control sequence (e.g., The can get run fast), and the same target word at the same position (e.g., the word ‘run’) was tested in the three conditions. Consistent with previous studies using a grammatical decision task and a same-different matching task, a transposed-word effect was observed, with word identification being more accurate in transposed-word sequences than in control sequences. Furthermore, here we could show for the first time that word identification was more accurate in correct sentences compared with transposed-word sequences. We suggest that the word identification advantage found for transposed-word sequences compared with ungrammatical control sequences is due to facilitatory feedback to word identities from sentence-level representations, albeit with less strength compared to the feedback provided by correct sentences.

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