Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 333–344

Letter detection: A window to unitization and other cognitive processes in reading text


DOI: 10.3758/BF03213975

Cite this article as:
Healy, A.F. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (1994) 1: 333. doi:10.3758/BF03213975


Experiments are reviewed that use the letter-detection task, in which subjects read text and circle target letters. Evidence is provided that the letter-detection task reveals the processing units used in reading text and is influenced as well by visual, phonetic, and a combination of semantic and syntactic factors. Specifically, it is shown that circling a target letter in a word depends on the familiarity of the word’s visual configuration, the location of the word in the reader’s visual field, the phonetic representation of the letter in the word, and a combination of the word’s meaning and its grammatical function.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Muenzinger BuildingUniversity of ColoradoBoulder, CO