Word and Pseudoword Superiority Effects: Evidence From a Shallow Orthography Language

Enrico Ripamonti, Claudio Luzzatti, Pierluigi Zoccolotti, Daniela Traficante

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The Word Superiority Effect (WSE) denotes better recognition of a letter embedded in a word rather than in a pseudoword. Along with WSE, also a Pseudoword Superiority Effect (PSE) has been described: it is easier to recognize a letter in a legal pseudoword than in an unpronounceable nonword. At the current state of the art, both WSE and PSE have been mainly tested with English speakers. The present study uses the Reicher-Wheeler paradigm with native speakers of Italian (a shallow orthography language). Differently from English and French, we found WSE for RTs only, whereas PSE was significant for both accuracy and reaction times (RTs). This finding indicates that, in the Reicher-Wheeler task, readers of a shallow orthography language can effectively rely on both the lexical and the sublexical routes. As to the effect of letter position, a clear advantage for the first letter position emerged, a finding suggesting a fine-grained processing of the letter strings with coding of letter position, and indicating the role of visual acuity and crowding factors.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1911-1920
Numero di pagine10
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017


  • Dual-Route model
  • Grain Size Theory
  • Pseudoword Superiority Effect
  • Reicher-Wheeler paradigm
  • Word Superiority Effect
  • Written Word Frequency


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