Symbol-string sensitivity and adult performance in lexical decision

Kristen Pammer, Ruth Lavis, Charity Cooper, Peter C. Hansen, Piers L. Cornelissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In this study of adult readers, we used a symbol-string task to assess participants’ sensitivity to the position of briefly presented, non-alphabetic but letter-like symbols. We found that sensitivity in this task explained a significant proportion of sample variance in visual lexical decision. Based on a number of controls, we show that this relationship cannot be explained by other factors including: chronological age, intelligence, speed of processing and/or concentration, short term memory consolidation, or fixation stability. This approach represents a new way to elucidate how, and to what extent, individual variation in pre-orthographic visual and cognitive processes impinge on reading skills, and the results suggest that limitations set by visuo-spatial processes constrain visual word recognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-296
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number3
Early online date2 Mar 2005
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2005
Externally publishedYes


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