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ERIC Number: EJ1060145
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Responding to Nonwords in the Lexical Decision Task: Insights from the English Lexicon Project
Yap, Melvin J.; Sibley, Daragh E.; Balota, David A.; Ratcliff, Roger; Rueckl, Jay
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v41 n3 p597-613 May 2015
Researchers have extensively documented how various statistical properties of words (e.g., word frequency) influence lexical processing. However, the impact of lexical variables on nonword decision-making performance is less clear. This gap is surprising, because a better specification of the mechanisms driving nonword responses may provide valuable insights into early lexical processes. In the present study, item-level and participant-level analyses were conducted on the trial-level lexical decision data for almost 37,000 nonwords in the English Lexicon Project in order to identify the influence of different psycholinguistic variables on nonword lexical decision performance and to explore individual differences in how participants respond to nonwords. Item-level regression analyses reveal that nonword response time was positively correlated with number of letters, number of orthographic neighbors, number of affixes, and base-word number of syllables, and negatively correlated with Levenshtein orthographic distance and base-word frequency. Participant-level analyses also point to within- and between-session stability in nonword responses across distinct sets of items, and intriguingly reveal that higher vocabulary knowledge is associated with less sensitivity to some dimensions (e.g., number of letters) but more sensitivity to others (e.g., base-word frequency). The present findings provide well-specified and interesting new constraints for informing models of word recognition and lexical decision.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institute on Aging (DHHS/NIH); National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: PO1 AGO3991; PO1 AGO26276; BCS 0001801