Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

What Eye Fixations Tell Us about Phonological Recoding during Reading

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

What Eye Fixations Tell Us about Phonological Recoding during Reading

Article excerpt

Abstract Evidence for phonological recoding during reading has depended on paradigms requiring readers to make some response in addition to reading (e.g., proofreading, concurrent speaking). Our subjects simply read text for comprehension, and their eye movements were monitored for spontaneous disruptions when encountering homophonic errors (e.g., He wore blew jeans.) versus nonhomophonic errors (e.g., He wore blow jeans.). Eye fixation behaviour revealed that readers initially experienced as much difficulty when encountering a homophonic error as a nonhomophonic one; however homophony facilitated the recovery process, at least for homophones that shared the same length as their context correct mates (e.g., blew/blue but not war/wore). The results support a theory of lexical access in which phonological sources of activation and influence are delayed relative to orthographic sources, rather than a theory in which phonological codes predominate.

Resume Les elements de preuve a l'appui de l'enregistrement phonologique durant la lecture reposent sur des paradigmes selon lesquels les lecteurs doivent non seulement lire un texte, mais egalement fournir une certaine reponse (p. ex. correction d'epreuves, langage simultane). Dans notre experience, les sujets devaient simplement lire un texte et le comprendre, tandis que leurs mouvements oculaires etaient enregistres pour y detecter les perturbations spontanees en presence d'erreurs homophoniques (p. ex. He wore blew jeans) par opposition a des erreurs non homophoniques (p. ex. He wore blow jeans). D'apres les fixations oculaires, les lecteurs eprouvaient d'abord autant de difficulte avec les erreurs homophoniques qu'avec les autres erreurs; cependant, l'homophonie facilitait le processus de redressement, du moins dans le cas des homophones de me@me longueur (p. ex. blew/blue, mais non war/wore). Pluto@t que d'appuyer une theorie de la predominance des codes phonologiques, les resultats corroborent une theorie de l'acces au lexique, selon laquelle les sources d'activation et l'influence d'ordre phonologique interviennent apres les sources orthographiques.

Consider encountering the following passage during the course of reading a short story about a bank holdup:

The teller ducked his head and saw a vein little man only for feet high who paced up and down, stopping at intervals to flex his impressive arm muscles. He wore a tee shirt, suede jacket, and blew jeans. Over his furrowed forehead and apelike brows perched a wig, apparently put on with glue. His nose went straight for a bit, then took a sharp turn to the side. Yet Harry 'Peewee' Farplotz, the world's smallest and most inept bank robber, had style...

Did you notice that there were three spelling errors in the passage? Now consider the following version:

The teller ducked his head and saw a vine little man only fir feet high who paced up and down, stopping at intervals to flex his impressive arm muscles. He wore a tee shirt, suede jacket, and blow jeans. Over his furrowed forehead and apelike brows perched a wig, apparently put on with glue. His nose went straight for a bit, then took a sharp turn to the side. Yet Harry 'Peewee' Farplotz, the world's smallest and most inept bank robber, had style...

Did you find it more difficult to detect the errors vine, for, and blew in the first version than the errors vine, fir, and blow in the second? All six words are semantically inconsistent in the context of the passage. However, vein, for, and blew happen to sound identical to the words vain, four, and blue which are perfectly consistent in that context, whereas vine, fir, and blow do not. If readers are less likely to notice an error that was a homophone of the correct word, this might suggest that they translate orthographic representations to phonological representations when comprehending printed text. By translating the orthographic representation vein to its phonological representation /veIn/, the clause . …

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