Assessing the influence of letter position in reading normal and transposed texts using a letter detection task.
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During word recognition, some letters appear to play a more important role than others. Although some studies have suggested that the first and last letters of a word have a privileged status, there is no consensus with regards to the importance of the different letter positions when reading connected text. In the current experiments, we used a simple letter search task to examine the impact of letter position on word identification in connected text using a classic paper and pencil procedure (Experiment 1) and an eye movement monitoring procedure (Experiment 2). In Experiments 3 and 4, a condition with transposed letters was included. Our results show that the first letter of a word is detected more easily than the other letters, and transposing letters in a word revealed the importance of the final letter. It is concluded that both the initial and final letters play a special role in word identification during reading but that the underlying processes might differ.
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