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date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses research on how words that are orthographically (or phonologically) similar to a printed word influence the speed and accuracy of its encoding. The relevant set of words (the word’s neighbors) was previously defined to be those lexical units differing from the target stimulus by a single letter in a given position. Recent evidence has revealed that a better definition of a word’s neighborhood includes lexical units of different length and lexical units created by transpositions. The study of a word’s neighborhood has revealed that that the activation of neighbors may interfere with the processing of the target words in word-identification tasks and during sentence reading, supporting the basic claims of interactive activation models. Some challenges to the current definitions of the sets of word neighborhoods are also examined, in particular the need to include differences between how consonants and vowels are encoded during word processing.

Keywords: word recognition, computational models, letter-position coding, consonant/vowel status, lexical decision, similarity metrics

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