Perception of letters, words, and nonwords.

  • Diane Massaro
  • Published 1973 in Journal of experimental psychology


Letter vs. word and word vs. nonword identification were compared, with redundancy adequately controlled. The processing time of the test st imulus was varied to provide a number of levels of correct performance. The first experiment showed that letters were recognized better when presented alone than when embedded in words. In the second experiment, the identification of letters in words did not differ from the identification of letters in nonwords. These results conflict with earlier findings that have shown that a letter is better identified in a word than in a nonword or presented alone. The dif fer ences in the experimental procedures indicate either that redundancy may not have been adequately controlled in the earlier studies or that some other process besides a perceptual one might account for the results.


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