Abstract

Individual differences in spelling ability may lead to differential orthographic processing during reading (Andrews & Low, 2013), and may contribute to nonsignificant effects when individual differences are not considered (Andrews & Hersch, 2010). The hypothesis of the current study was to investigate whether such differences in spelling ability may influence phonological processing during silent reading. One hundred and thirty-two participants were given tests of spelling ability and reading comprehension ability. Using a masked priming procedure, participants made lexical decisions on words (e.g. FROG), that is judging whether a letter string is a real word or not, that were briefly preceded by a semantic associate (e.g. TOAD) or a homophone of the associate (e.g. TOWED). These associates acted as primes – related words that would speed processing of the subsequent target word. Overall, not considering individual differences and consistent with prior literature (Lukatela & Turvey, 1994), only the semantic associate primed the target word. However, individual differences analyses indicated that spelling ability differentially influenced priming in this task. Participants with low spelling ability, regardless of reading ability, demonstrated priming from both prime types. Participants with high spelling ability, regardless of reading ability, only demonstrated priming from the semantic associate. Thus, spelling ability not only contributes to differences in orthographic processing, but also to differences in phonologically mediated semantic activation during reading.

Modified Abstract

Individual differences in spelling ability may lead to differential orthographic processing during reading (Andrews & Low, 2013), and may contribute to null effects when individual differences are not considered (Andrews & Hersch, 2010). We hypothesized that differences in spelling ability may contribute to phonological processing during reading. Participants made lexical decisions on words (e.g. FROG) that were briefly primed by a semantic associate (e.g. TOAD) or a homophone of the associate (e.g. TOWED). Importantly, individual differences results indicated that spelling ability influenced priming. Low spelling ability, regardless of reading ability, led to priming from both prime types. High spelling ability, regardless of reading ability, only led to priming from the semantic associate. Thus, spelling ability contributes to differences in phonologically mediated semantic activation during reading.

Research Category

Psychology

Primary Author's Major

Psychology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Jocelyn Folk

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

21-3-2017 1:00 PM

Research Area

Cognitive Psychology | Psychology

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Mar 21st, 1:00 PM

Spelling Ability Effects Homophone Processing During Reading: Frog and Towed are Friends

Individual differences in spelling ability may lead to differential orthographic processing during reading (Andrews & Low, 2013), and may contribute to nonsignificant effects when individual differences are not considered (Andrews & Hersch, 2010). The hypothesis of the current study was to investigate whether such differences in spelling ability may influence phonological processing during silent reading. One hundred and thirty-two participants were given tests of spelling ability and reading comprehension ability. Using a masked priming procedure, participants made lexical decisions on words (e.g. FROG), that is judging whether a letter string is a real word or not, that were briefly preceded by a semantic associate (e.g. TOAD) or a homophone of the associate (e.g. TOWED). These associates acted as primes – related words that would speed processing of the subsequent target word. Overall, not considering individual differences and consistent with prior literature (Lukatela & Turvey, 1994), only the semantic associate primed the target word. However, individual differences analyses indicated that spelling ability differentially influenced priming in this task. Participants with low spelling ability, regardless of reading ability, demonstrated priming from both prime types. Participants with high spelling ability, regardless of reading ability, only demonstrated priming from the semantic associate. Thus, spelling ability not only contributes to differences in orthographic processing, but also to differences in phonologically mediated semantic activation during reading.