The Relationship between Word Features and Lexical Decision Performance in Visual Word Recognition

Dr. Zahra Fotovatnia, Saeed Mostafavi-Ghahfarokhi & Dr. Jeffery A Jones,

Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, Department of English, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad Branch, Iran & Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada


Models of bilingual word recognition have primarily been developed, using the outcomes of experiments with L1 or L2 speakers of English performing a lexical decision task. Lexical decision tasks ask participants to decide whether a character string presented on a screen is a word or nonword. Often related or unrelated words (primes) are briefly presented before participants see the target string. Apart from this relatedness feature, other features of the prime should be matched across the two conditions. Otherwise, the results cannot be attributed to the “relatedness” feature alone. The present study was designed to investigate the relationship between word features and how each feature influenced the reaction time (RT) and accuracy of responses of 32 Persian-English speakers. Two questionnaires gathered responses on the participants’ familiarity, concreteness and imageability of 144 English and 288 Persian words on a 5-point Likert scale. In addition to these semantic features, other word features such as number of phonemes, number of letters, frequency per million, and neighborhood density of the words were determined using online databases in English and the MAHAK corpus in Persian. The Pearson correlation coefficient showed that RT was related to the number of letters, frequency, and neighborhood density of both English targets and Persian primes and familiarity with the English targets. Accuracy, on the other hand, was related to frequency, familiarity, and neighborhood density of English targets. Overall, the findings emphasize the importance of features of prime and target in a lexical decision task.


The above abstract is part  of the article which was accepted at The Second International Conference on Current Issues of Languages, Dialects and Linguistics (WWW.LLLD.IR) & The Fourth National Conference on English Studies and Linguistics (WWW.ELTL.IR) , 1-2 February 2018 , Iran-Ahwaz.

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