Executive Control Processes in Reading

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

11
CHARACTERIZING THE PROCESSING UNITS OF READING Effects of Intra- and Interword Spaces in a Letter Detection Task

Alice F. Healy University of Colorado

Gary L. Conboy University of Colorado

Adam Drewnowski University of Michigan

In 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. 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. These findings are discussed in terms of the notions of cognitive module and input system proposed by Fodor ( 1983).

A fundamental question for any model of the reading process is what is the type and size of the units that are used for the processing of written text. In the present study we investigated this question by manipulating the spaces surrounding potential units. Following Corcoran ( 1966), we have developed a simple letter detection task in which participants are asked to read a passage of text and circle every instance of a target letter (e.g., the letter t). We have found that participants make more detection errors on very common words, such as the, than on rare words, such as thy ( Healy, 1976, 1980). The pattern of errors is further determined by the structure of the search passage ( Drewnowski & Healy, 1977) and by the

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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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