Morphemic and phonemic factors in letter cancellation

Richardson, John T. E. (1984). Morphemic and phonemic factors in letter cancellation. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 13(5) pp. 351–372.



A letter cancellation task was employed to examine whether a prelexical phonological representation is an essential component of the normal reading process. In the cancellation of letter “e” s in the “ed” affix attached to the past tense forms of English regular verbs, there was no evidence that detection performance was influenced by the pronunciation of the target letter. In Experiment I, instructions to remember the content of the text had no effect upon performance, and any effects of instructions to read the text aloud were attributable to a speed-accuracy trade-off. In Experiment II, there was no evidence that articulatory suppression affected the normal reading process. Although aspects of performance in letter cancellation may be contaminated by task-specific scanning strategies, the present findings permit one to conclude that normal reading employs a direct, nonphonological means of lexical access.

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