Factors Affecting Lexical Access Time

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Mini Experiment Report #2: Factors Affecting Lexical Access Time Liv Kulchyk

Words are known as the building blocks of language, as they help us to understand both written and spoken language. Word recognition and lexical access are known to be bottom up processes, meaning that we can identify what something is by learning its parameters and building our ideas upwards. Lexical accessing is the act of accessing our mental lexicon and obtaining all information about a word, such as its meaning, sound and appearance (Harley, 2010). Lexical processing consists of 3 main components, identifying, naming, and understanding. Identifying a word consists of simply deciding if the letter string is or is not a word. Understanding a word is the ability to access a words meaning. Naming a word consists of accessing the sound of a word (Harley, 2010). Psycholinguists are very interested in investigating word processing, thus the lexical decision task was introduced. This task consists of timing how long a participant takes to identify whether a word is familiar or not when they are presented with a string of letters that may be a real word, an impossible non-words or a possible. Whereas real words are words of English that follow phonotactic constraints and have meaning, possible non-words obey phonotactic constraints but lack meaning, and impossible non-words violate phonotactic constraints and lack meaning. During this lexical decision process, many factors will affect how long the participant will take to identify if the letter string is a word or not. To name a few, the frequency effect states that the more common or frequently used a word is, the easier it is to recognize as a word (Harley, 2010). Age of acquisition, is an effect that states that the earlier in life that a word is acquired, that the word will be easily recognized (Harley, 2010). Lastly, word concreteness and imagery has an affect as abstract words evoke less imagery than concrete words,...
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