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Experiment Author: Glushko, R.J., Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
Participants are given a set of words and nonwords then asked to pronounce them. Some of the words are pronounced regularly and some are exception words, and some of the nonwords have only one letter different from the exception words. The original study found that the nonwords that resemble exception words are more difficult to pronounce than nonwords that look regular.
The participant is presented with 4 blocks of trials. Two of the blocks use letter strings that form words and two blocks form letter strings that are non-words. Words and non-words are further categorized as being regular or irregular words, e.g., 'COMB' is an irregular word due to the pronunciation of the 'B'. Each block is repeated six times. There are 43 trials per block. During each trial, the participant is presented with the current trial number, followed by a fixation, followed by a letter string. The participant is to pronounce the letter string as rapidly but as normally as possible and press the spacebar when finished. The RT of the press of the spacebar is then presented.
Glushko, R.J. (1979). The organization and activation of orthographic knowledge in reading aloud. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 5,674-691.
Experiment Abstract or Original Experiment Abstract
"Exception" words like HAVE, with irregular spelling-to-sound correspondences, take longer to read aloud than words like HAZE, with regular correspondences. "Exception pseudowords" like TAVE, which resemble irregular words, suffer a similar penalty in pronunciation latency compared to "regular pseudowords" like TAZE, which resemble regular words. Finally, "regular but inconsistent" words like WAVE, which have regular spelling-to-sound structure but which resemble exception words, take longer to pronounce than "regular and consistent" words like WADE. These results refute current claims that words are read aloud by retrieving a single pronunciation from memory and that pseudowords are pronounced by using abstract spelling-to-sound rules. Instead, it appears that words and pseudowords are pronounced using similar kinds of orthographic and phonological knowledge: the pronunciations of words that share orthographic features with them, and specific spelling-to-sound rules for multiletter spelling patterns. The traditional classification of words as regular and exception should be supplemented by a classification that incorporates the "consistency" or "inconsistency" of the orthographic knowledge activated in the course of pronouncing a word.
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