Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 189–195 | Cite as

On the role of competing word units in visual word recognition: The neighborhood frequency effect

  • Jonathan Grainger
  • J. Kevin O’regan
  • Arthur M. Jacobs
  • Juan Segui


Psychologie Expérimentale, 28 rue Serpente, 75006 Paris, France. Current models of word recognition generally assume that word units orthographically similar to a stimulus word are involved in the visual recognition of this word. We refer to this set of orthographically similar words as an orthographic neighborhood. Two experiments are presented that investigate the ways in which the composition of this neighborhood can affect word recognition. The data indicate that the presence in the neighborhood of at least one unit of higher frequency than the stimulus word itself results in interference in stimulus word processing. Lexical decision latencies (Experiment 1) and gaze durations (Experiment 2) to words with one neighbor of higher frequency were significantly longer than to words without a more frequent neighbor.


Word Recognition Lexical Decision Lexical Decision Task Stimulus Word Test Word 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Grainger
    • 2
    • 1
  • J. Kevin O’regan
    • 2
    • 1
  • Arthur M. Jacobs
    • 2
    • 1
  • Juan Segui
    • 2
    • 1
  1. 1.C.N.R.S.ParisFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Psychologie ExpérimentaleRené Deseartes UniversityParisFrance

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