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The nature of phonological representation in reading: Evidence from eye movements and event -related potentials

Jane Ashby, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The present research investigates the relationship between spoken language and reading processes by using several experimental techniques to examine the nature of the phonological representations used during silent reading. Experiments 1 through 4 measured eye movements during sentence reading and lexical decision using a parafoveal preview paradigm. In Experiment 5, brain electrical potentials were recorded in a four-field masked priming paradigm during passive reading of single words. Experiments 1 and 2 asked whether the phonological representations used by skilled readers in lexical access are minimal and contain only consonant information, or whether they include phonological vowel information as well. Experiments 3, 4, and 5 examined whether the phonological representations used in lexical access contain prosodic information about syllables as well as phoneme information. In combination, these experiments demonstrated that skilled readers are sensitive to vowel and prosody information presented in parafoveal previews and masked foveal primes. This suggests that readers routinely activate elaborate, speech-like phonological representations early in word recognition during silent reading. The phonological hub theory of silent reading is proposed to account for this finding and situate orthographic and phonological processes in the context of natural silent reading.

Subject Area

Cognitive therapy

Recommended Citation

Ashby, Jane, "The nature of phonological representation in reading: Evidence from eye movements and event -related potentials" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3215898.