Chinese character handwriting: A large-scale behavioral study and a database

  • Ruiming WangEmail author
  • Shuting Huang
  • Yacong Zhou
  • Zhenguang G. CaiEmail author


We report on a psycholinguistic database of Chinese character handwriting based on a large-scale study that involved 203 participants, each handwriting 200 characters randomly sampled from a cohort of 1,600 characters. Apart from collecting writing latencies, durations, and accuracy, we also compiled 14 lexical variables for each character. Regressions showed that frequency, age of acquisition, and the word context (in which a character appears) are all-around and influential predictors of orthographic access (as reflected in writing latency), motor execution of handwriting (as reflected in writing duration), and accuracy. In addition, phonological factors (phonogram status, spelling regularity, and homophone density) impacted orthographic access but not handwriting execution. Semantic factors (imageability and concreteness) only affected accuracy. These results suggest, among other things, that phonology is consulted in orthographic access while handwriting. As the first of its kind, this database can be used as a source of secondary data analyses and a tool for stimulus construction in handwriting research.


Handwriting Chinese Database Lexicon Phonology Orthography 


Author note

This work was supported by the Guangdong Province Universities and Colleges Pearl River Younger Scholar Funded Scheme (2016), a Project of the Key Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, MOE (17JJD190001), and the Economic and Social Research Council (L010224/2). We thank Gabriella Vigliocco for discussion of the work, and Hua Shu for communication on character age of acquisition.

Supplementary material

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© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science, and Center for Studies of Psychological Application, School of PsychologySouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages/Brain and Mind InstituteThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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