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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 3450

Investigation into the effect of homophone training on reaction times for a forced choice lexical decision task

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Investigation into the effect of homophone training on reaction times for a forced choice lexical decision task Abstract The study investigated the effect of training with homophones on the pseudohomophone effect when participants were required to search their lexicon for a familiar letter string, this also investigated the ideas put forward by the dual route model where orthographic and phonological processes are both used in the analysis of word strings. The design of the experiment was a between subjects forced choice lexical decision task, where participants were shown two word strings simultaneously and asked to respond as to which was a correct word. Participants were students from the University of Nottingham split into two different groups that were subject too different training conditions. Stimuli were four letter single syllabale word strings including homophones, regular words, non word strings, and pseudohomophones as used in previous research by Underwood (1988). The results obtained did not show a significant difference in reaction times between the two conditions although further analysis did show that the pseudohomophone effect was present. The study concludes that although the results were not significant at a high confidence level they are still positive in supporting the ideas of earlier studies including the dual route model and the important roles of both orthographic and phonological processes in word recognition. Introduction A pseudohomophone is a letter string that looks and sounds like a word such as "Bild" (a non word that sounds like a real world, build). The pseudohomophone effect says that it will take longer to distinguish between a real word and a pseudohomophone than to distinguish between a real word and a non word, such as "jate", which is not a pseudohomophone. Rubenstein et al (1971) presented participants with a word that was either a non word, a pseudohomophone or a real world for 2 seconds and asked them to respond as to whether they had just seen a real word or a non word. ...read more.


and Denis et al (1985). All of the words and non words were four letters and one syllabal long with "regular spelling to sound correspondence" (Underwood et al 1988). Slides with writing to explain the procedure of the experiment were also used as part of the E prime program and can be found in the appendix. * Procedure The participants were seated at a computer screen at a distance of roughly 50cm. They were presented with a practice trial of the experimental procedure to allow them to become familiar with the way the experiment worked before undertaking the main experiment. First the participants were presented with a screen displaying the text as shown in "Training Instruction" contained in the appendix. Upon pressing the space bar on the keyboard a fixation point aligned precisely in the middle of the screen was presented for 1000 milliseconds consisting of three x's in a line displayed in bold, size 18, courier new font. There was then a 500 millisecond wait during which a blank screen was displayed. Next one of the pairs of word string visual stimuli was picked at random by the computer and displayed for up to 3000 milliseconds at a position where both word strings were central on the X axis but one was above the other, this was designed to avoid left to right scanning effecting the results. The top word string was displayed 45% of the way down the Y axis with the lower word string being displayed at 55% of the way down placing it at a lower position on the Y axis. The word strings were presented in bold, size 18, courier new font using uppercase lettering for the whole word, invisible boxes created by the computer controlled their size, these were 25% the width and 15% of the height of the whole screen. There was then a further wait of 1000 milliseconds while a blank screen was displayed before the next fixation point appeared. ...read more.


Also English was not the first language or only language spoken by all of the students who participated in the experiment. This could lead to them processing words differently and also having a much broader lexicon through which to search, further effecting the studies results. When grouped together and compared against 0 the data also showed a pseudohomophone effect supporting the dual route model that we may use phonological and orthographic information when processing a letter string and the idea of a deadline imposed upon the searching of the lexicon. Future research in this area could work to see if the length of time a stimulus was presented effected the types of processes used in distinguishing between real words and non words. This would involve using the length of time the stimulus is displayed as the independent variable. Investigations into the effect of training using pseudohomophones could also lead to interesting areas of research to see if groups that were already familiar with the tests pseudohomophone effect still exhibited it, or if the participants who have received training use an internal form of orthographic spell check, such as that suggested in earlier studies, to overcome the pseudohomophone effect. Studies could also be conducted in different languages to see how this effects results, as different styles of language could effect the way we process word strings. For instance the complicated written Japanese alphabet may encourage a more phonologically coded response than the comparatively simple and less phonetic English language. The study while not showing a significant result does provide further evidence of the pseudohomophone effect and present interesting ideas for further research to help explain its findings. It also suggests that word recognition in perception is a process that occurs both orthographically and phonologically and is both complex and sophisticated. The brain has created a system that is capable of not only making sense of millions of combinations of characters but also has the ability to read letter strings that make no sense and in effect create new words using the old code when necessary. ...read more.

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