Case-mixing effects on children's word recognition: Lexical feedback and development
Presenting words in MiXeD cAsE has previously been shown to disrupt naming performance of adult readers. This effect is greater on nonwords than it is on real words. There have been two main accounts of this interaction. First, case mixing may disrupt naming via non-lexical spellingto-sound correspondences to a greater extent than it disrupts lexical naming. Alternatively, stored lexical knowledge of words may feed back to a visual analysis level during processing of a visually presented word, helping known words to overcome the visual disruption caused by case mixing. In the present study, when young children (aged 6 and 8 years) were tested, case mixing did not disrupt nonword naming more than word naming. However, slightly older children (aged 9 years) demonstrated the same pattern of performance as adults. These results support the view that topdown lexical information can aid overcoming visual disruption to words, and that beginning readers have not developed the stored word knowledge necessary to allow this. In addition, a greater case-mixing effect on high-frequency words for the youngest age group (6-year-olds) suggests that their word recognition may be based more on wholistic visual features than is that of older children.
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