Lexical processing in children and adults during word copying

Authors: Laishley, A.E.

Editors: Kirkby, J.A.

Journal: Journal of Cognitive Psychology

ISSN: 1464-0635

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Authors: Laishley, A.E., Liversedge, S.P. and Kirkby, J.A.

Journal: Journal of Cognitive Psychology

Volume: 27

Issue: 5

Pages: 578-593

eISSN: 2044-592X

ISSN: 2044-5911

DOI: 10.1080/20445911.2014.991396

© 2014 Taylor & Francis. Copying text may seem trivial, but the task itself is psychologically complex. It involves a series of sequential visual and cognitive processes, which must be co-ordinated; these include visual encoding, mental representation and written production. To investigate the time course of word processing during copying, we recorded eye movements of adults and children as they hand-copied isolated words presented on a classroom board. Longer and lower frequency words extended adults' encoding durations, suggesting whole word encoding. Only children's short word encoding was extended by lower frequency. Though children spent more time encoding long words compared to short words, gaze durations for long words were extended similarly for high- and low-frequency words. This suggested that for long words children used partial word representations and encoded multiple sublexical units rather than single whole words. Piecemeal word representation underpinned copying longer words in children, but reliance on partial word representations was not shown in adult readers.

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