Strategic Control of Processing in Word Recognition

Greg Stone, Guy C. Van Orden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Strategic control of word recognition in a lexical decision task was examined by manipulating the similarity of nonword foils to real words (nonword lexicality). Overall correct reaction times to words and the advantage of high- over low-frequency words were greater when nonword foils were more wordlike. This was true for both illegal (BTESE) versus legal (DEEST) nonword foils and legal nonword versus pseudohomophone (BEEST) foils. The same pattern of results was replicated in a 2nd experiment in which the word targets were always irregular (e.g., HAVE). A 3rd experiment demonstrated a large frequency blocking effect for low-frequency words, given pseudohomophone foils. The results are applied to pathway selection and random-walk frameworks. For both frameworks, canonical models are developed, which characterize qualitative predictions of broad classes of models within that framework. We argue for a pluralistic approach to theory development that moves from lower to higher order isomorphisms between data and theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-774
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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