Size does not matter, frequency does

Sensitivity to orthographic neighbors in normal and dyslexic readers

Eva Marinus*, Peter F. de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the influence of the number of orthographically similar candidates, neighborhood size, on the word and pseudoword naming performance of normal, dyslexic, and beginning readers. Participants were 23 Dutch dyslexic fourth-graders matched to 23 fourth-grade chronological age controls and 17 second-grade reading age controls. Unexpectedly, neighborhood size had similar effects in all groups: It did not affect word naming and facilitated the naming of pseudowords. However, the presence of a high-frequency neighbor had different effects. In contrast to normal readers, words with a high-frequency neighbor were named more slowly by beginning and dyslexic readers. These findings suggest a dissociation between global and specific effects of neighbor words. Nevertheless, both findings seem to be compatible with the view that orthographic representations of beginning and dyslexic children are not (yet) sufficiently specified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-144
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

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