The Chinese Lexicon Project: A repository of lexical decision behavioral responses for 2,500 Chinese characters
The Chinese language has more native speakers than any other language, but research on the reading of Chinese characters is still not as well-developed as it is for the reading of words in alphabetic languages. Two areas notably lacking are the paucity of megastudies in Chinese and the relatively infrequent use of the lexical decision paradigm to investigate single-character recognition. The Chinese Lexicon Project, described in this article, is a database of lexical decision latencies for 2,500 Chinese single characters in simplified script, collected from a sample of native mainland Chinese (Mandarin) speakers (N = 35). This resource will provide a valuable adjunct to influential mega-databases, such as the English, French, and Dutch Lexicon Projects. Using two separate analyses, some advantages associated with megastudies are exemplified. These include the selection of the strongest measure to represent Chinese character frequency (Cai & Brysbaert’s (PLoS ONE 5(6): e10729, 2010) subtitle contextual diversity frequency count), and the conducting of virtual studies to replicate and clarify existing findings. The unique morpho-syllabic nature of the Chinese writing system makes it a valuable case study for functional language contrasts. Moreover, this is the first publicly available large-scale repository of behavioral responses pertaining to Chinese language processing (the behavioral dataset is attached to this article, as a supplemental file available for download). For these reasons, the data should be of substantial interest to psychologists, linguists, and other researchers.