are encouraged to a greater extent when only one word is in view at a time than when multiple words are simultaneously available for processing: Both in terms of speed and accuracy, we found a substantial word inferiority effect when four words were shown on the screen, especially for the familiar test word the, but this effect was diminished and in some cases reversed when only one word was shown.
Because postperceptual processes are minimized in the letter detection task relative to other experimental procedures, this task seems to be ideally suited for investigating the representations that are formed by the input system for visually presented text and that are made available for subsequent processing by the central systems. In other words, to use the terminology employed in the current volume, the letter detection task seems ideally suited for characterizing the processing units of reading that will be available for subsequent use by the executive control processes.
This research was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant BNS80-25020 to the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado. We are indebted to R. Gregory and C. Wise for assistance with data tabulation and verification, and to W. Oliver for helpful discussions about this research and for computer formatting and data verification assistance.
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