What can we learn about visual attention to multiple words from the word–word interference task?

Claudio Mulatti*, Lisa Ceccherini, Max Coltheart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this work, we develop an empirically driven model of visual attention to multiple words using the word–word interference (WWI) task. In this task, two words are simultaneously presented visually: a to-be-ignored distractor word at fixation, and a to-be-read-aloud target word above or below the distractor word. Experiment 1 showed that low-frequency distractor words interfere more than high-frequency distractor words. Experiment 2 showed that distractor frequency (high vs. low) and target frequency (high vs. low) exert additive effects. Experiment 3 showed that the effect of the case status of the target (same vs. AlTeRnAtEd) interacts with the type of distractor (word vs. string of # marks). Experiment 4 showed that targets are responded to faster in the presence of semantically related distractors than in presence of unrelated distractors. Our model of visual attention to multiple words borrows two principles governing processing dynamics from the dual-route cascaded model of reading: cascaded interactive activation and lateral inhibition. At the core of the model are three mechanisms aimed at dealing with the distinctive feature of the WWI task, which is that two words are presented simultaneously. These mechanisms are identification, tokenization, and deactivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalMemory and Cognition
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Word production
  • Visual Word Recognition
  • Reading
  • Lexical selection
  • Visual attention
  • Lexical processing
  • Reading Aloud

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