A werd is not quite a word : on the role of sublexical phonological information in visual lexical decision
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Language and cognitive processes. - Utrecht, 1985, currens
, p. 513-552
To establish the relative contribution of phonological and orthographic information to visual word recognition, we varied the instruction how to respond to the pseudohomophones in a Dutch lexical decision task. One participant group was asked to base their word/nonword decisions on spelling and therefore reject pseudohomophones together with the nonhomophonic nonwords; the other group had to base their decisions on phonology and therefore accept pseudohomophones together with real words. Rejecting pseudohomophones (ignoring phonological information) was accompanied by costs in speed and accuracy for the pseudohomophones but not for other items. Accepting pseudohomophones (ignoring orthographic information) led to speed and accuracy costs for pseudohomophones and nonhomophonic nonwords that were approximately ten times larger than those for rejecting pseudohomophones. The simultaneous costs for pseudohomophones and nonhomophonic nonwords contradict an explanation of pseudohomophone acceptance in terms of a postlexical spelling check. The results indicate that phonological information can be ignored much more easily than orthographic information. Therefore, they fail to support a primary role of sublexical phonological assembly in lexical decision. This conclusion was further supported by strong effects of phonological consistency that were found in a naming experiment but were completely absent in lexical decision.