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Word Recognition: Is There An Interference Effect of Font in the Picture-Word Task?

Word Recognition: Is There An Interference Effect of Font in the Picture-Word Task?

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Steven Roach. Originally submitted for Behavioral Methods in Psychology at Harvard University, with lecturer Alfonso Caramazza in the category of Psychology
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Steven Roach. Originally submitted for Behavioral Methods in Psychology at Harvard University, with lecturer Alfonso Caramazza in the category of Psychology

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/02/2014

 
 1Word Recognition: Is There An Interference Effect of Font in the Picture-Word Task?
 
 2
Abstract
Frequency is a feature of a word that research has shown can affect time recognition of aword and the level of interference in the picture-word interference paradigm. We tested font tostudy if this was something specific to lexical characteristics or if the effect would also appear with font. Participants named line drawings while ignoring the words superimposed on them.The words were either in a harder-to-read font or an easier-to-read one and were either high- or low-frequency words. There was not a significant effect of font, suggesting the time to recognizethe word does not cause the interference with frequency. We also observed that the high-frequency words took longer to name than the low-frequency words in a control task after the picture-word task, suggesting there is a suppression effect for these words.
 
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Introduction
When we read and speak, we don’t generally think of the specific features involved inthis complicated process, but a key aspect of speech production is the recognition of words. Oneway that researchers have tried to measure this is by using a picture-word interference task. Inthis design, participants have to name a picture but ignore the word superimposed on it. Weknow from past studies that participants recognize the name of the word significantly faster thanthe name of the picture (Rosinski, Golinkoff, & Kukish). Due to this faster processing, participants must suppress the name of the superimposed word before they can name the object(Lupker, 1979).Key features can affect the time it takes people to recognize the word before they are ableto suppress it. One example of these features that has been studied is word length. Past researchhas shown that participants take longer to recognize and process longer words. This leads tolonger suppression and response times when naming the object (Larsen, Mercer, & Balota,2006). Another aspect is orthographic neighborhood. Orthographic neighborhood is defined asthe number of times a word can be changed into another word in the English language byreplacing only one letter (Coltheart, Davelaar, Jonasson, & Besner, 1977). Studies have shownthat words with larger orthographic neighborhoods activate more words in a person’s memory,leading to faster word recognition and faster response times (Larsen et al. 2006). The finalfeature that has been shown to have one of the strongest effects on interference affect is thefrequency of the word in the English language. Results have demonstrated that participants process high-frequency words faster than low-frequency words because we encounter them morefrequently, which leads to faster response times to name the word (Burt, 2002; Larsen et al.2006).

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