Reading and Writing

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 55–77 | Cite as

Assessing the importance of subvocalization during normal silent reading

  • Meredyth Daneman
  • Margaret Newson
Article

Abstract

A concurrent speaking paradigm was used to assess the importance of subvocalization during the reading of lengthy natural prose passages. Experiment 1 showed that having subjects count aloud while reading interfered with their comprehension and recall of the text's details as well as its gist, but did not affect the durability of the memory trace. Experiment 2 replicated these findings and established the validity of using concurrent speaking as a technique to interfere with speech-specific processes during silent reading. By pitting concurrent speaking against a nonverbal concurrent task, Experiment 2 provided evidence that its detrimental effect on comprehension was due to a competition for speech-related resources rather than a general competition for cognitive resources. Interfering with speech recoding during silent reading led to an average decrement of 10–12% in comprehension performance. However, Experiment 2 also showed that there were substantial individual differences in the magnitude of the speech interference effect and that these differences were systematically related to subjective reports about the concurrent speaking manipulation.

Keywords

Articulatory suppression Comprehension Reading Subvocalization Working memory 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meredyth Daneman
    • 1
  • Margaret Newson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Erindale CollegeUniversity of TorontoMississaugaCanada

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