Executive Control Processes in Reading

By Bruce K. Britton; Shawn M. Glynn | Go to book overview

Chapter 11
Characterizing the Processing Units of Reading: Effects of Intra- and Interword Spaces in a Letter Detection Task

In their chapter, Alice Healy, Gary Conboy, and Adam Drewnowski describe a letter detection experiment in which asterisks or blank spaces were inserted between characters in continuous text; participants made significantly fewer errors when the test word subtended a larger visual angle. In a second experiment, the interword space before the test word the was found to be more critical for unit formation than the space after the.

According to Healy and her colleagues, these results suggest that the size of the processing units used by readers depends on visual angle, and that the reading units for frequent function words such as the extend beyond the word itself, include the interword space, and are influenced more by familiarity than by linguistic function. They discuss these results in terms of the notions of the cognitive module and input system proposed by Fodor ( 1983).


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This book was conceived when we were developing our own executive control model of reading (see Britton, Glynn, & Smith's chapter on the cognitive workbench model in Understanding Expository Text, edited by Britton & Black, 1985). The model is based on the notion that the reading task is made up of a large number of subprocesses, which obviously cannot operate optimally in a state of anarchy; they need some executive control. Around the same time, we heard Robert Sternberg and Richard Wagner deliver an early version of the paper that appears as a chapter here, from which we derived the title of the volume.

Those most influential in shaping Britton's early research in reading were Thomas Andre, Ellen Gagné, and Ernst Rothkopf, and his debt to them is acknowledged here.


REFERENCE

Britton B. K., Glynn S. M., & Smith J. ( 1985). "Cognitive demands of processing expository text: A cognitive workbench model". In B. Britton and J. Black (Eds.), Understanding expository text (pp. 227-248). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

-xviii-

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Executive Control Processes in Reading
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Contributors ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Acknowledgements xviii
  • Reference xviii
  • 1 - Executive Control in Reading Comprehension 1
  • Acknowledgments 19
  • References 21
  • 2 - Reading and Writing for Electronic Journals 23
  • Acknowledgments 51
  • References 53
  • 3 - Typography and Executive Control Processes in Reading 57
  • Acknowledgments 76
  • References 77
  • 4 - Typography and Reading Strategy 81
  • References 105
  • 5 - Executive Control in Studying 107
  • References 142
  • 6 - The Activation and Use of Scripted Knowledge in Reading About Routine Activities 145
  • Appendix 172
  • References 175
  • 7 - Knowledge Acquisition for Application: Cognitive Flexibility and Transfer in Complex Content Domains 177
  • Acknowledgments 197
  • References 198
  • 8 - Instructional Variables That Influence Cognitive Processes During Reading 201
  • References 215
  • 9 - How Is Reading Time Influenced by Knowledge-Based Inferences and World Knowledge? 217
  • Acknowledgments 249
  • References 250
  • 10 - Remembering Reading Operations with and Without Awareness 253
  • Acknowledgments 274
  • References 275
  • 11 - Characterizing the Processing Units of Reading Effects of Intra- and Interword Spaces in A Letter Detection Task 279
  • Acknowledgments 294
  • References 295
  • Author Index 297
  • Subject Index 305
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