Exploring the temporal boundary conditions of the articulatory in–out preference effect

  • Judith Gerten
  • Sascha Topolinski
Original Article


Earlier research has documented a preference for words with consonantal articulation patterns that move from the front to the back of the mouth (e.g., MENIKA) over words with reversely wandering consonantal articulation spots (e.g., KENIMA). The present experiments explored the temporal dynamics of the reading process in this in–out preference effect. In three experiments (total N = 344), we gradually reduced the presentation durations of inward and outward wandering words from 1000 ms down to 25 ms to approximate the minimum length of visual stimulus presentation required to trigger the effect. The in–out effect was reliably observed for exposure timings down to 50 ms, but vanished for 25 ms timings, which is line with previous evidence on phonological encoding. Thus, impressively, 50 ms of word presentation is sufficient to evoke the in–out effect. These findings suggest phonological activation to be a prerequisite and thus a driving mechanism of the in–out effect.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Judith Gerten declares that she has no conflict of interest. Sascha Topolinski declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Cognition Center Cologne, Social and Economic CognitionUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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