Linguistics Cognitive Mechanisms for Lexical Access
Marcus Taft
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 May 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0117


In order to communicate, human beings make use of words, which are the spoken or written labels for concepts being conveyed. In order for us to understand or generate such labels, we need to store them in our long-term lexical memory (i.e., our “mental lexicon”) in association with their corresponding meaning and retrieve them when appropriate to do so. “Lexical access” refers to this act of retrieval. In a reading situation, the orthographically presented stimulus needs to be matched with the relevant stored representation in the mental lexicon, as does the phonological form of the presented acoustic stimulus when speech is to be understood. In contrast, production of speech requires the intended meaning to provide access to the phonological form of the word that underlies the articulatory output. Similarly, spontaneously writing entails the generation of the orthographic form from the intended meaning. The term “lexical access” was originally coined in relation to visual word processing, but its use is more common nowadays in the word production literature. The word recognition literature tends to use more general terms such as “lexical processing” or “lexical retrieval” because the idea of “lexical access” implies that the word has a singly located representation in lexical memory (i.e., a “lexical entry”) that can be actively sought out. It is therefore not a theoretically neutral term, as it conflicts with most current accounts where words are recognized through a passive parallel activation procedure based on units below the word level (i.e., “sublexical” information). Because the relationship between the meaning and form of a word is largely arbitrary, spontaneous production does not involve the incremental activation of a lexical representation through sublexical features and, therefore, the idea that this representation is “accessed” is less controversial and hence more widely used. The issues that have been examined in relation to lexical access concern the retrieval process and the nature of the stored representations that allow this retrieval to take place. Most of the empirical research has been carried out by cognitive psychologists rather than linguists: for this reason, the coverage here will be more about the cognitive mechanisms involved in lexical access than the type of linguistic information accessed. In addition, the focus on the cognitive and not the neural mechanisms means that little will be said about the neurophysiological underpinnings of lexical processing. The vast majority of research into lexical access has centered on visual word recognition, partly because it is relatively easy to develop materials and measure responses, and partly because it has potential implications for reading pedagogy. Accordingly, this article will focus mainly on the domain of visual word recognition. The references that have been selected are either highly cited works or provide a representative account of a particular topic.


The rather specialized nature of the topic of lexical access can be seen by the dearth of monographs that relate directly to the topic, with no newly written texts appearing in the 21st century thus far. Aitchison’s book, originally published in 1987, has recently gone into its fourth edition (Aitchison 2012); its focus is more on the content of the mental lexicon than on how that content is accessed, and its primary focus is on spoken production and recognition. Taft 1991 looks at the mental lexicon and its access, concentrating solely on visual word recognition. It summarizes empirical data gathered prior to the 1990s and develops a model of lexical representation that is still current today. Visual word recognition in reading is also the focus of the scholarly and thorough work of Henderson 1982, which covers the state of the art till that time. Other monographs include sections on lexical access within their coverage of a broader topic. Ellis 1993 spends much time on visual word recognition and production in relation to both normal and dysfunctional reading and spelling performance. Nickels 1997 and Levelt 1989 are about speech production and include a detailed account of lexical access in relation to that domain. Within its coverage of the psychology of language in general, Harley 2008 provides a broad overview of all domains of lexical processing, as does the widely adopted textbook Carroll 2008, though less thoroughly.

  • Aitchison, J. 2012. Words in the mind: An introduction to the mental lexicon. 4th ed. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    A highly accessible book that does not presuppose a background in linguistics or psychology. The fourth edition does not differ greatly from the first, with the most notable addition being a brief section on the brain and neuroimaging.

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    • Carroll, D. W. 2008. Psychology of language. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

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      Relatively brief treatment of lexical representation and access, most of which has not been updated since the original edition in the 1980s.

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      • Ellis, Andrew W. 1993. Reading, writing and dyslexia: A cognitive analysis. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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        To help understand acquired reading and spelling disorders, a broad coverage of normal lexical processing is presented in relation to the recognition and production of print.

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        • Harley, T. A. 2008. The psychology of language: From data to theory. 3d ed. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

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          A scholarly textbook on language processing that incorporates sections on all aspects of lexical representation and retrieval.

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          • Henderson, L. 1982. Orthography and word recognition in reading. London: Academic Press.

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            An in-depth analysis of orthography and its involvement in lexical access aimed at the non-specialist and researcher alike.

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            • Levelt, W. J. M. 1989. Speaking: From intention to articulation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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              The most influential approach to speech production, with lexical access as a central feature.

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              • Nickels, L. 1997. Spoken word production and its breakdown in aphasia. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

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                Focuses on lexical access in both normal and disordered speech production.

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                • Taft, Marcus. 1991. Reading and the mental lexicon. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                  Suitable for advanced undergraduate students as well as providing background for researchers pursuing empirical work in visual word recognition. A Japanese translation by Hirose, Kawakami, and Hatta was published in 1995 by Shinzan.

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                  Edited Collections

                  There are some excellent overviews of specific aspects of lexical processing to be found in edited volumes, even though more recent publications of this type tend not to be as widely cited as journal articles. Many of them are essentially conference proceedings and, as such, the chapters vary on whether they present new empirical data or are more of an overview. Marslen-Wilson 1989 is perhaps the most general of the edited collections in relation to lexical access, but it does not include any chapters on speech production. Although the title of Bonin 2004 suggests a more general focus, most of the chapters are about visual word recognition. Lexical processing in relation to reading is the explicit focus of the edited works Coltheart 1987 and Andrews 2006. Unlike the above, Jarema and Libben 2007 is not based directly on conference presentations and has a strongly theoretical focus. The three handbooks of psycholinguistics—Gaskell 2007; Spivey, et al. 2012; and Traxler and Gernsbacher 2006—all have instructive sections on the different domains of lexical access written by experts in the field.


                  The only journal dedicated solely to issues in lexical representation and access is the Mental Lexicon, which is aimed at both linguists and psychologists. The most important journals that regularly publish research into the cognitive mechanisms of lexical processing tend to be those that focus more broadly on issues in cognitive psychology. The Journal of Memory and Language has probably been the most popular publication choice for articles on lexical access over many years. The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition and its stable mate, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance each have a reasonably high impact for articles on lexical access, with the latter being an outlet for work on spoken word processing more than the former. Cognition has a high impact factor but not so many articles on lexical access in recent years. Language and Cognitive Processes is the source of many papers on lexical access, though with a somewhat lesser impact, and Memory and Cognition is noteworthy for its shorter papers. Major theoretical articles on lexical processing can be found in Psychological Review.

                  Visual Word Recognition

                  The term “lexical access” was first coined in relation to visual word recognition in Forster and Chambers 1973 (cited under Methodological Approaches). Many of the issues explored in the early years are still relevant today, though new theoretical approaches have evolved. Over the years, there have tended to be flurries of interest on particular topics. For example, the question of how sentence context influences lexical access was a popular topic from the late 1970s to mid-1980s (see Lexical Access in the Sentence Context), while the question of whether orthography needs to be recoded into a phonological form in silent reading attracted considerable attention from the late 1980s to late 1990s (see Phonological Involvement in Visual Word Recognition). Over the last decade, there has been a wave of interest in blind decomposition of derived words (see Morphological Processing) and the way in which letters are associated with their correct position (see Letter Position Coding).

                  Methodological Approaches

                  Forster and Chambers 1973 examines the two most frequently used tasks for tapping into visual word recognition: namely, lexical decision and naming. The former measures the speed and accuracy of discriminating real words from nonwords (also called “pseudowords”), while the latter measures the time it takes to initiate the pronunciation of a letter-string. Factorially designed experiments manipulate one factor between conditions while holding constant as many other lexical characteristics as possible. Any differences arising between conditions are therefore ascribed to the particular manipulation. The most important factor that needs to be controlled is word frequency, and the CELEX database (Baayen, et al. 1993) is now the most commonly used measure of this. Over the years, however, factorial comparisons of different words have become less common since it cannot be certain how well matched the conditions are. This has led to the rise of two other types of experiment. First, large sets of data are subjected to multiple regression analyses in order to establish whether a particular factor has an impact on lexical decision or naming times when partialing out as many other factors as possible. Whaley 1978 was the first to adopt this approach. Balota, et al. 2007 reports on the English Lexicon Project, which provides lexical decision and naming responses for a massive number of words and nonwords, along with a description of each item’s characteristics on a large number of dimensions. This offers a valuable database for regression analyses. The second and now most common approach is to compare the same target word under different priming conditions, and it is the relationship between the prime and the target that is manipulated. Since the 1990s, the prime is usually masked using the technique developed in Forster and Davis 1984 so that task-specific strategies are avoided. Kinoshita and Lupker 2003 focuses on this methodology. The DMDX windows display program (Forster and Forster 2003) is designed especially for lexical processing experiments and is widely adopted.

                  Theoretical Accounts of Visual Word Recognition

                  When lexical access developed as an area of research in the early 1970s, there were two general theoretical frameworks. The first envisaged the mental lexicon as a list of words, ordered in terms of frequency of occurrence, with access taking place via a serial search through a marked-off subset of entries in the list. Rubenstein, et al. 1971 was the first paper to explicitly outline this search model with Forster being the strongest advocate since then (see, e.g., Murray and Forster 2004). In the second type of model, all lexical representations were seen as information-collecting units that were activated in parallel depending on their correspondence with the input. Morton 1969 presents such a model, with the lexical units being called “logogens.” This notion of parallel activation has since been developed into what is probably the currently most influential model, where activation passes from sublexical units (representing letters or “graphemes”) to their corresponding lexical units. This is the interactive-activation framework originally proposed in McClelland and Rumelhart 1981, where not only does excitation propagate from lower to higher level units, but vice versa as well, along with inhibitory activation between competing units at the same level. Grainger and Jacobs 1996 expands on this approach with a focus on how lexical decisions are made. In contrast to the localist notions of interactive-activation where each word is represented by an individual unit, another approach has been to treat each word as a pattern of activation across a distributed set of hidden units that capture the correlation between input (i.e., letters) and output (i.e., whether that be pronunciation or meaning). The application of this parallel distributed processing (PDP) framework to lexical processing is detailed in Seidenberg and McClelland 1989. An evaluation of the localist approach relative to a distributed one is presented in Page 2000. Norris 2006 argues for a Bayesian model whereby lexical processing is conceptualized as a form of decision making. Many proposed models have been mathematically implemented so that behavioral data can be computationally simulated by the model. Success in simulating data is often seen as the hallmark of a model’s worth. Computational models that explicitly focus on generating the pronunciation of a visually presented word are presented in Phonological Involvement in Visual Word Recognition.

                  Letter Position Coding

                  It is well known that the reordering of the internal letters of a word often still allow that word to be recognized (e.g., recgonized), and this has implications for how letter position is encoded at the earliest stages of lexical access. Chambers 1979 was the first to focus on the difficulty in making lexical decision responses to nonwords with two transposed letters (i.e., because they can be easily confused with real words), but it is only in recent times that the issue of letter position coding has become a major area of research and theorizing. Several different models have attempted to explain how lexical access occurs despite the position of internal letters being imprecisely processed. One type of model includes a layer of processing that represents the correctly ordered pairs of letters that make up the word regardless of whether they are adjacent or not (“open bigrams”). When a word has transposed letters it can nevertheless be activated via the open bigrams that are correctly ordered. Whitney and Cornelissen 2008 and Grainger, et al. 2006 present different variants of this account. Davis 2010 proffers a spatial coding account where words are represented by a pattern of letter activation that corresponds to the relative position of the letters in the word, and this pattern is not greatly changed when two of the letters are transposed. In their “overlap” model, Gomez, et al. 2008 ascribes transposed letter (“TL”) similarity effects to the imprecise tuning of letters to their positional slots. Many studies have explored factors that modulate the TL effect, including the consonant/vowel status of the transposed letters (e.g., Perea and Lupker 2004), whether the transposition crosses a morphological boundary (e.g., Rueckl and Rimzhim 2011), and the type of internal orthographic structure of the script (e.g., Velan and Frost 2011).

                  • Chambers, S. M. 1979. Letter and order information in lexical access. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 18:225–241.

                    DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5371(79)90136-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    A pioneering study that shows interference to lexical decision responses when a nonword forms a word after two of its letters are transposed.

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                    • Davis, C. J. 2010. The spatial coding model of visual word identification. Psychological Review 117:713–758.

                      DOI: 10.1037/a0019738Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      A thorough description of a model where words are recognized via spatially coded patterns of letters.

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                      • Gomez, P., R. Ratcliff, and M. Perea. 2008. The overlap model: A model of letter position coding. Psychological Review 115:577–601.

                        DOI: 10.1037/a0012667Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Provides a series of experiments that are taken as support for a model of letter position encoding where a lexical representation receives some activation from letters that are close to their expected position.

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                        • Grainger, J., J. P. Granier, F. Farioli, E. Van Assche, and W. van Heuven. 2006. Letter position information and printed word perception: The relative-position priming constraint. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 32:865–884.

                          DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.32.4.865Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Presents masked priming data to support an account of letter position encoding that incorporates open bigrams.

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                          • Perea, M., and S. J. Lupker. 2004. Can CANISO activate CASINO? Transposed-letter similarity effects with non-adjacent letter positions. Journal of Memory and Language 51:231–246.

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                            One of the first studies to explore factors that modify the effect of transposing letters. Uses Spanish materials.

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                            • Rueckl, J. G., and A. Rimzhim. 2011. On the interaction of letter transpositions and morphemic boundaries. Language and Cognitive Processes 26:482–508.

                              DOI: 10.1080/01690965.2010.500020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              A failure to find evidence for previous claims that transposed letter effects are attenuated across morpheme boundaries.

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                              • Velan, H., and R. Frost. 2011. Words with and without internal structure: What determines the nature of orthographic and morphological processing? Cognition 118:141–156.

                                DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.11.013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                Reports on transposed letter effects in Hebrew where most words incorporate a three-consonant root, which is a very different orthographic structure to most other scripts.

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                                • Whitney, C., and P. Cornelissen. 2008. SERIOL reading. Language and Cognitive Processes 23:143–164.

                                  DOI: 10.1080/01690960701579771Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Describes an open bigram model of letter position encoding, with a direct contrast drawn with other models.

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                                  Phonological Involvement in Visual Word Recognition

                                  There are two issues relevant to the involvement of phonology in silent visual word recognition. The first is whether a word is accessed through phonology after the orthographic stimulus has been recoded, and the second is the way in which such phonological recoding might occur, namely, how print is converted into sound. Much of the evidence supporting access via phonology relies on responses to a letter-string being influenced by the fact that it is a word that is homophonic with another word (e.g., sale), or is a nonword (such as brane) that is homophonic with a real word (i.e., a “pseudohomophone”). Using lexical decision, Rubenstein, et al. 1971 (cited under Theoretical Accounts of Visual Word Recognition) was the first to report an influence of homophony. However, the issue became most prominent after the publication of Van Orden 1987, using semantic categorization, where it was claimed that the meaning of a visually presented word could only be accessed through phonology. Frost 1998 strongly endorses this position. Rastle and Brysbaert 2006 includes an overview of studies that have examined masked homophone priming and concludes in favor of a combination of direct orthographic access and phonological mediation, which is a similar conclusion to that drawn in Harm and Seidenberg 2004 within a PDP framework (see Theoretical Accounts of Visual Word Recognition). Models of how print might actually be recoded into its phonological form have focused on the naming task, with a particular attempt to explain the “regularity” effect where irregularly pronounced words (e.g., steak) take longer to name than regularly pronounced ones (e.g., freak). Coltheart, et al. 2001 describes a computational dual-route model that includes grapheme-phoneme conversion as well as lexical look-up of phonology. The model outlined in Plaut, et al. 1996 has a connectionist architecture, while Perry, et al. 2007 combines the connectionist and dual-route approaches. Glushko 1979 demonstrates an effect on naming regular words (the “consistency” effect) that models of reading aloud need to incorporate in addition to the regularity effect.

                                  • Coltheart, M., K. Rastle, C. Perry, R. Langdon, and J. Ziegler. 2001. DRC: A dual route cascaded model of visual word recognition and reading aloud. Psychological Review 108:204–256.

                                    DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.108.1.204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Highly influential dual-route model of print-to sound, with a rule-based route and a route that requires lexical access.

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                                    • Frost, R. 1998. Toward a strong phonological theory of visual word recognition: True issues and false trails. Psychological Bulletin 123:71–99.

                                      DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.123.1.71Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      Clearly laid out presentation of the view that silent reading is mediated through phonology.

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                                      • 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.

                                        DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.5.4.674Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        Empirical demonstration that regular words whose bodies (see Processing Orthographic Structure) are inconsistently pronounced (e.g., freak) take longer to name than those with unique pronunciations (e.g., fresh).

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                                        • Harm, M. W., and M. S. Seidenberg. 2004. Computing the meanings of words in reading: Cooperative division of labor between visual and phonological processes. Psychological Review 111:662–720.

                                          DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.111.3.662Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          Using PDP simulations, argues that meaning is activated through both orthographic and phonological codes, modulated by the nature of the relationship between those codes within the word.

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                                          • Perry, C., J. C. Ziegler, and M. Zorzi. 2007. Nested incremental modeling in the development of computational theories: The CDP+ model of reading aloud. Psychological Review 114:273–315.

                                            DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.114.2.273Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            Presents a dual-process connectionist model of print-to-sound recoding.

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                                            • Plaut, D. C., J. L. McClelland, M. S. Seidenberg, and K. Patterson. 1996. Understanding normal and impaired word reading: Computational principles in quasi-regular domains. Psychological Review 103:56–115.

                                              DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.103.1.56Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              A version of the PDP approach that incorporates attractor basins and a systematic analysis of input into onsets, vowels, and codas to explain how the pronunciation of letter-strings might be generated.

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                                              • Rastle, K., and M. Brysbaert. 2006. Masked phonological priming effects in English: Are they real? Do they matter? Cognitive Psychology 53:97–145.

                                                DOI: 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2006.01.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                Includes a meta-analysis of studies that have examined masked phonological priming where the prime is homophonic with the target.

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                                                • Van Orden, G. C. 1987. A ROWS is a ROSE: Spelling, sound, and reading. Memory and Cognition 15:181–198.

                                                  DOI: 10.3758/BF03197716Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  Influential study that reveals difficulties in judging that a word does not belong to a semantic category (e.g., flower) when it is homophonic with a member of that category (e.g., rows, being homophonic with rose).

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                                                  Processing Orthographic Structure

                                                  There have been different techniques used to establish which aspects of orthographic structure contribute to lexical access. For example, lexical decision responses are delayed to nonwords when they are able to partially activate the lexical representation of a real word. The orthographic features that lead to such partial activation can then be assumed to contribute to normal access. It has been amply shown (originally in Coltheart, et al. 1977) that the more words that can be created by substituting one letter of a nonword (“neighborhood density” or “N”), the slower the response times. Andrews 1997 summarizes findings in relation to N for both nonwords and real words. When a target word has a low N value, lexical decision responses are facilitated by a masked prime that is a nonword neighbor of that target (e.g., dosk priming DESK, see Forster, et al. 1987). This is termed “form-priming.” The effects of N suggest that individual letters activate lexical information, but it has also been shown that lexical access is sensitive to internal orthographic structure. For example, Treiman, et al. 1995 emphasizes the importance of the onset/body structure of monosyllabic words (where the “body” is composed of the vowel plus coda, and is the orthographic equivalent of the phonological “rime” unit, e.g., the ompt of prompt). Beyond these sub-syllabic units, a relatively limited amount of research has focused on syllabic processing. Emphasis has been placed by some on the orthographic equivalent of the spoken syllable, especially in languages with clear syllable boundaries such as Spanish (Carreiras, et al. 1993) and German (Conrad and Jacobs 2004). Taft 1979 supports an orthographically defined syllable structure for reading English polysyllabic words. New, et al. 2006 reports analyses based on the English Lexicon Project (see Methodological Approaches) where lexical decision responses to English words are longer the more syllables there are, while the impact of the number of letters is not so straightforward.

                                                  • Andrews, S. 1997. The effect of orthographic similarity on lexical retrieval: Resolving neighborhood conflicts. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 4:439–461.

                                                    DOI: 10.3758/BF03214334Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    A meta-analysis of neighborhood density effects for both nonwords and real words with theoretical implications.

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                                                    • Carreiras, M., C. Álavarez, and M. de-Vega. 1993. Syllable frequency and visual word recognition in Spanish. Journal of Memory and Language 32:766–780.

                                                      DOI: 10.1006/jmla.1993.1038Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Demonstrates the importance of the syllable as a unit of processing in Spanish.

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                                                      • Coltheart, M., E. Davelaar, J. T. Jonasson, and D. Besner. 1977. Access to the internal lexicon. In Attention and performance VI. Edited by Stanislav Dornic, 535–555. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                        Operationalizes the idea of orthographic similarity in terms of neighborhood density (or N) and how this factor influences lexical access.

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                                                        • Conrad, M., and A. Jacobs. 2004. Replicating syllable frequency effects in Spanish in German: One more challenge to computational models of visual word recognition. Language and Cognitive Processes 19:369–390.

                                                          DOI: 10.1080/01690960344000224Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          Demonstrates the importance of the syllable as a unit of processing in German.

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                                                          • Forster, K. I., C. Davis, C. Schoknecht, and R. Carter. 1987. Masked priming with graphemically related forms: Repetition or partial activation? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 39A: 211–251.

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                                                            The first demonstration of masked form-priming where target words (e.g., TRUE) are primed by the masked presentation of a nonword neighbor (e.g., trug).

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                                                            • New, B., L. Ferrand, C. Pallier, and M. Brysbaert. 2006. Re-examining the word length effect in visual word recognition: New evidence from the English Lexicon Project. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 13:45–52.

                                                              DOI: 10.3758/BF03193811Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              A thorough examination of the role of letter and syllable length in lexical decision.

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                                                              • Taft, M. 1979. Lexical access via an orthographic code: The basic orthographic syllabic structure (BOSS). Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 18:21–39.

                                                                DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5371(79)90544-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                Experiments that support the idea that words are recognized via an orthographically defined first syllable where the coda is maximized.

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                                                                • Treiman, R., J. Mullennix, R. Bijeljac-Babic, and E. D. Richmond-Welty. 1995. The special role of rimes in the description, use, and acquisition of English orthography. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 124:107–136.

                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.124.2.107Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  Emphasizes the importance in orthographic processing of the orthographic rime (referred to in more recent times as the “body”).

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                                                                  Morphological Processing

                                                                  One of the important issues in relation to lexical access is whether polymorphemic words are accessed in their whole-word form or decomposed and accessed through their component morphemes. A model of “morphological decomposition” was first presented in Taft and Forster 1975 when focusing on prefixed words with bound stems. In more recent years, the idea of obligatory (“blind”) morphological decomposition of derived words has been looked at through the effect of a masked pseudo-derived (or “opaque”) prime (e.g., corner) on lexical decision responses to its pseudo-stem (e.g., CORN). Rastle and Davis 2008 provides an overview of such experiments. From a series of non-masked priming experiments, Marslen-Wilson, et al. 1994 also supports morpheme-based representation and explores the role of meaning in the processing of derived words. Manipulating the frequency of the stem, Taft 2004 provides strong support for the idea that inflected words do not have a lexical representation at all and that their decomposition is therefore obligatory. In contrast, Giraudo and Grainger 2001 argues for a “supra-lexical” locus for decomposition whereby access is based on the whole word and decomposition happens after access. Caramazza, et al. 1988 and Baayen, et al. 1997 support a dual-pathways account where both whole-word access and decomposition are available. Feldman 1995 focuses on morphological processing primarily in visual word recognition and includes empirical work in languages other than English.

                                                                  • Baayen, R. H., T. Dijkstra, and R. Schreuder. 1997. Singulars and plurals in Dutch: Evidence for a parallel dual route model. Journal of Memory and Language 37:94–117.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1006/jmla.1997.2509Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Focuses on the impact of such factors as the frequency of the stem and frequency of the whole word on the recognition of inflected Dutch words. Supports a dual-pathways account where there is both whole-word access and decomposition.

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                                                                    • Caramazza, A., A. Laudanna, and C. Romani. 1988. Lexical access and inflectional morphology. Cognition 28:297–332.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/0010-0277(88)90017-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Examines lexical decision responses to nonwords in Italian and supports a model of processing that incorporates both whole-word access and decomposition.

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                                                                      • Feldman L., ed. 1995. Morphological aspects of language processing. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                        A compilation of chapters reporting experimental research into morphological processing using a range of methodologies and focusing on a number of different languages.

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                                                                        • Giraudo, H., and J. Grainger. 2001. Priming complex words: Evidence for supralexical representation of morphology. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 8:127–131.

                                                                          DOI: 10.3758/BF03196148Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          From a series of masked priming experiments with French-derived words, a supra-lexical model of morphological decomposition is proposed.

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                                                                          • Marslen-Wilson, W., L. K. Tyler, R. Waksler, and L. Older. 1994. Morphology and meaning in the English mental lexicon. Psychological Review 101:3–33.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.101.1.3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Reports differential priming for transparently and opaquely derived words in a series of cross-modal (unmasked) priming experiments.

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                                                                            • Rastle, K., and M. H. Davis. 2008. Morphological decomposition based on the analysis of orthography. Language and Cognitive Processes 23:942–971.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/01690960802069730Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              An overview of research into masked priming of the pseudo-stems of pseudo-derived words (e.g., CORN primed by corner) relative to that of the real stems of transparently derived words (e.g., HUNT primed by hunter). Supports automatic morphological decomposition.

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                                                                              • Taft, M. 2004. Morphological decomposition and the reverse base frequency effect. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 57A: 745–765.

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                                                                                Shows that the frequency of the stem of an inflected word can have the opposite effect on lexical decision responses depending on the nature of the nonword distractors. Argues that inflected words have no whole-word lexical representation.

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                                                                                • Taft, M., and K. I. Forster. 1975. Lexical storage and retrieval of prefixed words. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 14:638–647.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5371(75)80051-XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Shows that the bound stems (e.g., vive) are confused with real words and concludes in favor of a strong theory of morphological decomposition.

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                                                                                  Semantic Influences

                                                                                  Accessing a lexical representation from the visual stimulus could potentially be achieved on the basis of form without any activation of the meaning of the word. Gernsbacher 1984 examines previous research that indicates that semantic concreteness (or imageability) and number of meanings (i.e., polysemy) do influence lexical decision responses, but concludes that these semantic factors are confounded with word familiarity. Later studies, however, have found an effect of polysemy without the familiarity confound and the basis for this effect is explored in Rodd, et al. 2002. Strain, et al. 1995 reports an effect of imageability even in the naming task, and so does Balota, et al. 2004 in a large-scale regression analysis, along with further evidence for semantic factors in lexical decision. A different way in which meaning has been shown to impact on lexical access has been the semantic priming paradigm. Here, lexical decision responses to a target word (e.g., nurse) are facilitated by the prior presentation of a semantically related prime (e.g., doctor). This was first explored in Meyer and Schvaneveldt 1971 and developed theoretically in Neely 1977. Although many studies have failed to find facilitation when the semantic prime is masked, Bodner and Masson 2003 reports its existence.

                                                                                  • Balota, D. A., M. J. Cortese, S. D. Sergent-Marshall, D. H. Spieler, and M. J. Yap. 2004. Visual word recognition of single-syllable words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 133:283–316.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.133.2.283Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    A regression analysis of lexical decision and naming data across a huge number of words that reveals effects of semantic variables, among other things.

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                                                                                    • Bodner, G. E., and M. E. J. Masson. 2003. Beyond spreading activation: An influence of relatedness proportion on masked semantic priming. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 10:645–652.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.3758/BF03196527Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      Report of semantic priming effects under masked conditions.

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                                                                                      • Gernsbacher, M. A. 1984. Resolving 20 years of inconsistent interactions between lexical familiarity and orthography, concreteness, and polysemy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 113:256–281.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.113.2.256Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Rejects the idea that semantic factors have an impact on lexical access once subjective familiarity is controlled.

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                                                                                        • Meyer, D. E., and R. W. Schvaneveldt. 1971. Facilitation in recognizing pairs of words: Evidence of a dependence between retrieval operations. Journal of Experimental Psychology 90:227–234.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1037/h0031564Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Classic paper outlining the impact on lexical decision responses of there being a semantically related prime word.

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                                                                                          • Neely, J. H. 1977. Semantic priming and retrieval from lexical memory: Roles of inhibitionless spreading activation and limited-capacity attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 106:226–254.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.106.3.226Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Explores a dual-processes account of semantic priming where both automatic spreading activation and an attentionally controlled strategy lead to facilitation when the prime and target are semantically related, but the latter produces inhibition when the prime and target are semantically different.

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                                                                                            • Rodd, J. M., M. G. Gaskell, and W. D. Marslen-Wilson. 2002. Making sense of semantic ambiguity: Semantic competition in lexical access. Journal of Memory and Language 46:245–266.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1006/jmla.2001.2810Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Lexical decision experiments that differentiate between words with multiple meanings and words with multiple senses.

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                                                                                              • Strain, E., K. Patterson, and M. S. Seidenberg. 1995. Semantic effects in single-word naming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 21:1140–1154.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1037/0278-7393.21.5.1140Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Reports an effect of imageability in the naming task, but only for words that need to draw on lexical information for their pronunciation (i.e., irregularly pronounced words).

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                                                                                                Lexical Access in the Sentence Context

                                                                                                Most experiments on lexical access in visual word recognition examine the processing of isolated words. Schuberth and Eimas 1977 and Fischler and Bloom 1979 are early demonstrations of research into the processing of words preceded by sentential context. The general conclusion from these studies and from further research has been that the primary impact of context occurs after the word has been accessed rather than the context being used to anticipate what the word is (see Forster 1981, Stanovich and West 1983). As a further example, Swinney 1979 shows that both meanings of an ambiguous word are initially activated regardless of context. Simpson 1984 explores the processing of ambiguous words more generally, mostly within the constraints of the sentential context. A natural way of monitoring lexical processing within a sentence is to observe what the eyes are doing during reading. Rayner 1998 provides a review of such eye movement research with reference to lexical access, while Sereno and Rayner 2003 offers a broader overview with a comparison to a direct measure of brain activity (i.e., ERP).

                                                                                                • Fischler, I., and P. A. Bloom. 1979. Automatic and attentional processes in the effects of sentence contexts and word recognition. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 18:1–20.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5371(79)90534-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Shows facilitation for words that are predictable from the sentence context, inhibition for words that do not fit the context, and no priming for words that fit the context but are not highly predictable.

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                                                                                                  • Forster, K. I. 1981. Priming and the effects of sentence and lexical content on naming time: Evidence for autonomous lexical processing. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 33A: 465–495.

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                                                                                                    Examination of lexical decision and naming times for words primed by different types of sentential contexts. Concludes in favor of a post-access account of context.

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                                                                                                    • Rayner, K. 1998. Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research. Psychological Bulletin 124:372–422.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.124.3.372Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Review of eye movement research with information about what it reveals about lexical access within the sentence context.

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                                                                                                      • Schuberth, R. E., and P. D. Eimas. 1977. Effects of context on the classification of words and nonwords. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 3:27–36.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.3.1.27Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        The first demonstration of the impact of sentence context on lexical access.

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                                                                                                        • Sereno, S. C., and K. Rayner. 2003. Measuring word recognition in reading: Eye movements and event-related potentials. Trends in Cognitive Science 7:489–493.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2003.09.010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          A comparison of two online measures of word recognition within the sentence context: eye movements and brain activity.

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                                                                                                          • Simpson, G. B. 1984. Lexical ambiguity and its role in models of word recognition. Psychological Bulletin 96:316–340.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.96.2.316Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            An exploration of the processing of ambiguous words mostly when within a disambiguating context.

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                                                                                                            • Stanovich, K. E., and R. F. West. 1983. On priming by a sentence context. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 112:1–36.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.112.1.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              One of a number of papers by these authors during the early 1980s that report on the impact of sentence context on lexical processing.

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                                                                                                              • Swinney, D. A. 1979. Lexical access during sentence comprehension: (Re)consideration of context effects. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 18:645–659.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5371(79)90355-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Landmark study showing post-access resolution of ambiguity on the basis of sentence context using a cross-modal priming technique.

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                                                                                                                Non-Alphabetic Languages

                                                                                                                Most research into visual word recognition has focused on the processing of alphabetic script (and mostly in Germanic and Romance languages). However, studies have also been carried out on lexical access in non-alphabetic languages, namely Chinese and Japanese, to examine how this type of orthographic structure is handled by the reader. The processing of compound words in Chinese is examined in Zhou, et al. 1999, while Seidenberg 1985 and Taft and Zhu 1997 focus on the role of radicals in processing individual Chinese characters. Perfetti, et al. 2005 presents a model of Chinese reading where phonology plays a pivotal role, though Chen and Shu 2001 argues that their data fail to support the importance phonology in lexical processing. Li, et al. 2006 and Nakayama, et al. 2006 are edited volumes on psycholinguistic research in Chinese and Japanese, respectively. The nature of the Japanese mental lexicon and its access are the focus of the monograph Kess and Miyamoto 1999.

                                                                                                                • Chen H. C., and H. Shu. 2001. Lexical activation during the recognition of Chinese characters: Evidence against early phonological activation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 8:511–518.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.3758/BF03196186Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Failure to find homophonic priming in Chinese character naming argues against the idea that phonology plays an important role in character recognition.

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                                                                                                                  • Kess, J. F., and T. Miyamoto. 1999. The Japanese mental lexicon: Psycholinguistic studies of kana and kanji processing. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                    A compendium of research into Japanese lexical processing with a separate focus on kanji and kana.

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                                                                                                                    • Li, P., L. H. Tan, E. Bates, and O. J. L. Tzeng, eds. 2006. The handbook of East Asian psycholinguistics. Vol. 1, Chinese. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                      Compilation of chapters exploring Chinese language processing, with several chapters discussing lexical access and related issues.

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                                                                                                                      • Nakayama, M., R. Mazuka, and Y. Shirai, eds. 2006. The handbook of East Asian psycholinguistics. Vol. 2, Japanese. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                        Compilation of chapters exploring Japanese-language processing, with several chapters discussing lexical access and related issues in relation to both the Kanji and Kana scripts.

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                                                                                                                        • Perfetti, C. A., Y. Liu, and L. H. Tan. 2005. The lexical constituency model: Some implications of research on Chinese for general theories of reading. Psychological Review 112:43–59.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.112.1.43Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Proposes a computational model of Chinese reading that involves the interplay of orthography, phonology, and semantics.

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                                                                                                                          • Seidenberg, M. S. 1985. The time course of phonological code activation in two writing systems. Cognition 19:1–30.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/0010-0277(85)90029-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Early and influential study showing that Chinese character naming is influenced by the relationship between the pronunciation of a character and its phonetic radical.

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                                                                                                                            • Taft, M., and X. Zhu. 1997. Submorphemic processing in reading Chinese. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 23:761–775.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/0278-7393.23.3.761Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Manipulates the frequency of the component radicals of Chinese characters to support a model where characters are accessed through a representation of their radicals.

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                                                                                                                              • Zhou, X., W. Marslen-Wilson, M. Taft, and H. Shu. 1999. Morphology, orthography, and phonology in reading Chinese compound words. Language and Cognitive Processes 14:525–565.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/016909699386185Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Based on a series of priming experiments. Draws conclusions about the nature of compound word processing in Chinese in relation to morphology, orthography, and phonology.

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                                                                                                                                Spoken Word Recognition

                                                                                                                                There are unique issues associated with spoken word recognition as a result of the speech signal unfolding across time, the physical variability of the signal, lexical stress, and the lack of spacing between words. While there is a long and distinguished history of research into the processing of the speech signal, the coverage here will be restricted to research that is concerned directly with lexical access rather than the way in which phonemic information is extracted from the speech signal. Mention will also be made of a topic that has been arousing interest in recent times, namely, the idea that orthography has an impact on spoken word processing.

                                                                                                                                Theoretical Accounts of Spoken Word Recognition

                                                                                                                                An early model of lexical access in speech processing is presented in Klatt 1979. Marslen-Wilson and Tyler 1980 emphasizes the dynamic nature of the speech signal where a cohort of candidates is set up on the basis of information at the beginning of the word and then successively narrowed down as each new phoneme is experienced until a single candidate remains. A connectionist adaptation of this “Cohort Model” is presented in Gaskell and Marslen-Wilson 1997. The TRACE model described in McClelland and Elman 1986 is a version of the interactive-activation (IA) approach (see Theoretical Accounts of Visual Word Recognition) adapted for the specific characteristics of spoken words. Luce, et al. 2000 is also in the IA tradition with lexical access based on allophonic information. Norris and McQueen 2008 describes the Shortlist B model which implements Bayesian principles as a means of identifying spoken words. Adaptive Resonance Theory is adopted in Grossberg and Myers 2000 to model spoken word recognition. A very different account of spoken word recognition is given in Goldinger 1998, which proposes that spoken words are represented and processed as traces in episodic memory.

                                                                                                                                Segmenting the Speech Signal into Words

                                                                                                                                Unlike most reading situations, the unit that needs to be accessed from the speech signal is often physically unclear. That is, the beginning and end of the lexical item is not necessarily identifiable in the signal. McQueen 1998 shows that phonotactic information provides clues to determining where to segment the speech signal, while Cutler and Norris 1988 demonstrates that metrical information can play a role in segmentation. Gow and Gordon 1995 finds that subtle phonetic cues can be used to differentiate interpretations of a potentially ambiguous signal. Allopenna, et al. 1998 introduces an eye-tracking technique that is useful to establish what words are being accessed at particular points in time during continuous speech. Salverda, et al. 2003 uses this technique to show that suprasegmental information helps to identify monosyllabic word boundaries. An interplay of both lexical and sublexical information is shown in Mattys, et al. 2005 to play a role in segmentation.

                                                                                                                                • Allopenna, P. D., J. S. Magnuson, and M. K. Tanenhaus. 1998. Tracking the time course of spoken word recognition using eye movements: Evidence for continuous mapping models. Journal of Memory and Language 38:419–439.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1006/jmla.1997.2558Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  By looking at where listeners fixate on an array of different pictures, it can be established what lexical information is being processed at that point in time. Shows that both initial and rhyming information plays an important role in access.

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                                                                                                                                  • Cutler, A., and D. Norris. 1988. The role of strong syllables in segmentation for lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 14:113–121.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.14.1.113Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Influential study showing that speakers of a stress language such as English initiate lexical access on the basis of strong syllables.

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                                                                                                                                    • Gow, D. W., Jr., and P. C. Gordon. 1995. Lexical and prelexical influences on word segmentation: Evidence from priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 21:344–359.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.21.2.344Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Uses the cross-modal priming paradigm to explore the basis for segmentation of ambiguous sequences.

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                                                                                                                                      • Mattys, S. L., L. White, and J. F. Melhorn. 2005. Integration of multiple speech segmentation cues: A hierarchical framework. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 134:477–500.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.134.4.477Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Examines the role of metrical and segmental cues to segmentation and their interplay with top-down lexical information.

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                                                                                                                                        • McQueen, J. M. 1998. Segmentation of continuous speech using phonotactics. Journal of Memory and Language 39:21–46.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1006/jmla.1998.2568Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          From a word-spotting task in Dutch, demonstrates that phonotactic information plays a role in segmentation.

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                                                                                                                                          • Salverda, A. P., D. Dahan, and J. M. McQueen. 2003. The role of prosodic boundaries in the resolution of lexical embedding in speech comprehension. Cognition 90:51–89.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/S0010-0277(03)00139-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Demonstrates the role of segmental lengthening in differentiating a monosyllabic word from the same phonemic sequence in the first syllable position of a polysyllabic word.

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                                                                                                                                            Variability in the Speech Signal

                                                                                                                                            An important issue that arises in relation to speech processing is the way in which words are stored and accessed in the light of variations in their pronunciation and the existence of different dialects and accents. Lahiri and Marslen-Wilson 1991 proposes that the lexical representation is sufficiently underspecified that variation in surface form can be accessed, while Gaskell and Marslen-Wilson 1996 adds that inferential processes are also required. The model proposed in Pierrehumbert 2001 is based on exemplar theory (see Theoretical Accounts of Spoken Word Recognition). From data that fail to fully support previous models, Ranbom and Connine 2007 proposes that multiple phonological representations exist. Sumner and Samuel 2009 explores the processing of dialect representation and access.

                                                                                                                                            • Gaskell, M. G., and W. D. Marslen-Wilson. 1996. Phonological variation and inference in lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 22:144–158.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.22.1.144Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Looks at assimilation across morpheme boundaries within a cross-modal priming paradigm and concludes that online phonological inference plays a role.

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                                                                                                                                              • Lahiri, A., and W. D. Marslen-Wilson. 1991. The mental representation of lexical form: A phonological approach to the recognition lexicon. Cognition 38:245–294.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/0010-0277(91)90008-RSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                From research comparing English and Bengali, this article supports abstract phonological lexical representation.

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                                                                                                                                                • Pierrehumbert, J. B. 2001. Exemplar dynamics: Word frequency, lenition and contrast. In Frequency and the emergence of linguistic structure. Edited by Joan Bybee and Paul Hopper, 137–157. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                  Presents a computational exemplar model of the processing of phonetic variation.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Ranbom, L., and C. M. Connine. 2007. Lexical representation of phonological variation. Journal of Memory and Language 57:273–298.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2007.04.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    A comparison of various explanations for lexical access in the face of phonetic variation. Adopts a hybrid account and considers the role of orthography (see Orthographic Influences).

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                                                                                                                                                    • Sumner, M., and A. G. Samuel. 2009. The effect of experience on the perception and representation of dialect variants. Journal of Memory and Language 60:487–501.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2009.01.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      A series of priming experiments that investigates how dialects might be represented and recognized.

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                                                                                                                                                      Orthographic Influences

                                                                                                                                                      In recent years, it has become increasingly accepted that orthographic information plays a role in spoken word processing. Seidenberg and Tanenhaus 1979 was the first to report this, but the demonstration in Ziegler and Ferrand 1998 that rime-body consistency affects auditory lexical decision has inspired a number of other studies (e.g., Ventura, et al. 2004). From priming studies, it has been claimed that the activation of orthographic information in spoken word recognition occurs automatically (e.g., Chéreau, et al. 2007; Taft, et al. 2008).

                                                                                                                                                      • Chéreau, C., M. G. Gaskell, and N. Dumay. 2007. Reading spoken words: Orthographic effects in auditory priming. Cognition 102:341–360.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2006.01.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Reports priming effects from auditory primes and targets that share orthographic form.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Seidenberg, M. S., and M. K. Tanenhaus. 1979. Orthographic effects on rhyme monitoring. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory 5:546–554.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1037/0278-7393.5.6.546Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Shows that the spelling of spoken words has an impact on rhyme matching.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Taft, M., A. Castles, C. Davis, G. Lazendic, and M. Nguyen-Hoan. 2008. Automatic activation of orthography in spoken word recognition: Pseudohomograph priming. Journal of Memory and Language 58:366–379.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2007.11.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Supports automatic orthographic activation on the basis of a priming task where listeners are unaware of the prime.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Ventura, P., J. Morais, C. Pattamadilok, and R. Kolinsky. 2004. The locus of the orthographic consistency effect in auditory word recognition. Language and Cognitive Processes 19:57–95.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/01690960344000134Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Tests rime consistency in Portuguese using a variety of tasks, concluding that the impact of orthography arises at the lexical rather than sublexical level.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Ziegler, J. C., and L. Ferrand. 1998. Orthography shapes the perception of speech: The consistency effect in auditory word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 5:683–689.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.3758/BF03208845Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                Reveals longer lexical decision responses to French words with inconsistently spelled rimes than consistently spelled rimes supporting feedback between phonology and orthography during spoken word recognition.

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                                                                                                                                                                Spoken Word Production

                                                                                                                                                                Lexical access in speech production describes the process of getting from the meaning of a word to its lexical representation for the purposes of spoken output. The main issues, which are not independent of each other, concern the nature of the stages that are passed through, whether processing is cascaded or whether each stage must be completed before passing activation to the next, and whether activation through the stages is unidirectional or interactive. In relation to the stages involved in word production, the model described in Roelofs 1992 and Levelt, et al. 1999 is non-interactive with activation passing from a conceptual stratum through to the form stratum via lemma units. In the model outlined in Dell 1986 and refined in Dell and O’Seaghdha 1992, similar levels are envisaged but with interaction between them. Caramazza 1997 makes an argument for dispensing with the lemma level. Cascaded processing is supported by both Morsella and Miozzo 2002 and Rapp and Goldrick 2000, while the latter also presents evidence for interactivity of stages. Jescheniak and Levelt 1994 specifically examines the locus of word frequency effects in speech production.

                                                                                                                                                                Written Word Production

                                                                                                                                                                There is relatively little research into lexical access in written word production. Writing to dictation seems to follow the principles of print-to-sound (see Phonological Involvement in Visual Word Recognition), but in reverse. That is, both lexical and sublexical information need to be involved. For example, Barry 1994 describes how written output can be generated from both the stored spelling of the whole word and from an assembly of the individual graphemes, while Houghton and Zorzi 2003 implements a computational model that incorporates the same idea. Delattre, et al. 2006 focuses on the way conflict between the two routes might be resolved. It seems to be assumed that the same mechanisms proposed for spoken word production (see Spoken Word Production) hold for free (i.e., non-dictated) written production, but with a different modality of output. However, there is the additional question of whether it is possible to go from meaning to orthography without the mediation of phonology. Tainturier and Rapp 2000 argues that phonological mediation is not obligatory, as does Bonin, et al. 1998. Other research, such as Kandel, et al. 2006 and Weingarten, et al. 2004, has focused on the size of the graphemic unit used in both handwriting and typing. The edited volume Frith 1980 comprises chapters on many aspects of spelling, including issues related to lexical access.

                                                                                                                                                                • Barry, C. 1994. Spelling routes (or roots or rutes). In Handbook of spelling: Theory, process and intervention. Edited by Gordon D. A. Brown and Nick C. Ellis, 27–49. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Presents a dual-route account of written word generation.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Bonin, P., Fayol, M., and R. Peereman. 1998. Masked form priming in writing words from pictures: Evidence for direct retrieval of orthographic codes. Acta Psychologica 99:311–328.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1016/S0001-6918(98)00017-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Argues against obligatory phonological mediation of written word production on the basis of writing latencies and errors in the masked priming paradigm with picture stimuli.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Delattre, M., P. Bonin, and C. Barry. 2006. Written spelling to dictation: Sound-to-spelling regularity affects both writing latencies and durations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 32:1330–1340.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1037/0278-7393.32.6.1330Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Explores the way in which lexical and sublexical information interact in spelling by examining the latency and duration of writing irregularly spelled French words.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Frith, U., ed. 1980. Cognitive processes in spelling. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                        The first edited volume to bring together research into the cognitive processing of spelling.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Houghton, G., and M. Zorzi. 2003. Normal and impaired spelling in a connectionist dual-route architecture. Cognitive Neuropsychology 20:115–162.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/02643290242000871Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Presents a computational dual-route model of spelling within a connectionist architecture.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Kandel, S., C. J. Álvarez, and N. Vallée. 2006. Syllables as processing units in handwriting production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 32:18–31.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.32.1.18Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            From a series of copying tasks in French and Spanish, concludes that syllables form a unit of processing in writing.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Tainturier, Marie-Josèphe, and Brenda Rapp. 2000. The spelling process. In The handbook of cognitive neuropsychology: What deficits reveal about the human mind. Edited by Brenda Rapp, 263–289. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Reviews theoretical accounts of written word production discussing the interplay of lexical and sublexical information and the autonomy of orthographic retrieval.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Weingarten, R., G. Nottbusch, and U. Will. 2004. Morphemes, syllables and graphemes in written word production. In Multidisciplinary approaches to speech production. Edited by Thomas Pechmann and Christopher Habel, 529–572. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1515/9783110894028Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Considers the units involved in written word production, supporting a hierarchy of levels that includes a morphemic level.

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