Orthographic and phonological neighborhood effects in handwritten word perception

Anthony S. Barnhart, Stephen Goldinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In printed-word perception, the orthographic neighborhood effect (i.e., faster recognition of words with more neighbors) has considerable theoretical importance, because it implicates great interactivity in lexical access. Mulatti, Reynolds, and Besner Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32, 799–810 (2006) questioned the validity of orthographic neighborhood effects, suggesting that they reflect a confound with phonological neighborhood density. They reported that, when phonological density is controlled, orthographic neighborhood effects vanish. Conversely, phonological neighborhood effects were still evident even when controlling for orthographic neighborhood density. The present study was a replication and extension of Mulatti et al. (2006), with words presented in four different formats (computer-generated print and cursive, and handwritten print and cursive). The results from Mulatti et al. (2006) were replicated with computer-generated stimuli, but were reversed with natural stimuli. These results suggest that, when ambiguity is introduced at the level of individual letters, top-down influences from lexical neighbors are increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1745
Number of pages7
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Orthography
  • Phonology
  • Visual word recognition
  • Word perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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