Lab 3: Word Superiority EffectSeerat Kamran (19-10007)Forman Christian College?IntroductionWord superiority effect indicates that individuals who are presented with list of letters, find it easier to identify a single letter of that list which forms a proper word compared to a list of letters that do not form a proper word (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012). For example, the letter “r” in “form” is easier to identify than “r” in the word “fmor”. This shows a connection between constructive and intelligent perception, where intelligence becomes an important part of our perceptual processing. This causes us to interpret not what is perceived at the literal moment through our sensory data but what is already in our previous schemas and cognition (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012). Context plays an important role in a letter and in a perception of the word. A study was conducted which examined the impact of context in a conventional form of the letter recognition skills of dyslexic children, which identified that adults showed better outcome compared to young readers (Chase & Tallal, 1990), due to the constructive approach the top-down theory. Another study by Rumelhart and McClelland in 1982 identified that letters in a string that have several letters present in a word which is regular (SLET) or irregular (SLNT) are far easier to recognize than words which are not reoccurring in a word (XLQJ) (Rumelhart & McClelland, 1982).The lab experiment we conducted had three sets of characters on screen: left, middle and right and we had to identify which group (left or right) matches with the center group.

To make the test slightly more difficult, only a letter differed between both left and right groups whereas the center group may be partially obscured. MethodParticipantsThere were 30 students (n=30) that participated in the word superiority effect test all of which were students of Cognitive Psychology. MaterialsThe materials used in this experiment were a device (smartphone) and internet access through which the participants performed the experiment. ProcedureThe participants were asked through an update on the courses website to download the Psych Lab 101 app on their smartphones and to select the language experiment within which the experiment on word superiority effect was to be conducted. The instructions clearly stated that in each trial the participant would witness three sets of characters on their screen; one on the left, middle and right. In the experiment the participants were asked to click on the side that matched the group in the middle, and as quickly as possible as the next set of groups would appear.

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 ResultsSPSS was used to interpret the data yielded from the word superiority experiment. The table below shows the unmasked presentation and its relation between the “letter” and “word”, in which the accuracy for the letter (.90) is greater than the accuracy for the word (.86). Along with their reaction time (RT) which was relatively less for the “letter” (537ms) and relatively higher for the “word” (549ms).

The SEM or the Standard Error of Mean which is used for variability (.2) for both the “letter” and the “word” depicts that the error is relatively low. The second table shows data for the masked presentations, in which the center group is not masked or hidden. Below we see that there is not much of a difference between the accuracy of the “Letter” (1.00) and “Word” (.

98), we see a significantly less difference between them, however the Reaction Time (RT) has a slight significant difference for the “Letter” (501ms) and for the “Word” (540ms). There is again no significant Standard Error of Mean. Lab 3: Word Superiority EffectDiscussionThe experiment done on word superiority clearly disregards the theory of the word superiority effect. (Reicher, 1969) clearly states that performance on a single word is comparatively better on than identifying single letters.

However, from the results above we see that the “Letter” condition performed relatively better than the “Word” condition in both the masked and unmasked presentations. This could be due to the intelligence perception (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012) in which we picked the word that matched our earlier perception and schemas rather than perceiving the word as a novel stimulus and then interpreting what word to choose (Paap, Newsome, McDonald, & Schvaneveldt, 1982).Participants were also accompanied by irrelevant stimuli on the other side of the screen which caused the responses to be slowed (McCann, Folk, & Johnston, 1992), hence causing a greater Reaction Time in unmasked presentation compared to the masked presentation. ImplicationsWord superiority effect can be used not to only assess but help individuals that are sensitive to alphabetical orthography, and accommodate them to view, read comfortably and perceive words that they may not be able to in a conventional way (Akamatsu, 1999). Word superiority effect can help bilinguals learn English (English as a second language) more efficiently, the reason distorted words do not lose their cue value (Akamatsu, 1999). It is identified that context does play a vital role in perceiving a word and reading it (Chase & Tallal, 1990), without context we would only be using our thought process through our sensory data (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012). ReferencesAkamatsu, N.

(1999). The effects of first language orthographic features on word recognition       processing in English as a second language. Reading and Writing, 11(4), 381-403.Chase, C. H., & Tallal, P.

(1990). A developmental, interactive activation model of the word superiority    effect. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 49(3), 448-487.Durso, F.

T., & Johnson, M. K. (1980). The effects of orienting tasks on recognition, recall, and modality confusion of pictures and words.

Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19(4), 416-429.Falikman, M. (2011).

Word Superiority Effect and Attention.McCann, R. S., Folk, C. L., & Johnston, J.

C. (1992). The role of spatial attention in visual word processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 18(4), 1015.McClelland, J.

L., & Rumelhart, D. E. (1981). An interactive activation model of context effects in letter perception: I. An account of basic findings. Psychological Review, 88(5), 375-407.

 Paap, K. R., Newsome, S. L., McDonald, J. E., & Schvaneveldt, R. W.

(1982). An activation–verification model for letter and word recognition: The word-superiority effect. Psychological review, 89(5), 573.

Prinzmetal, W. (1992). The word-superiority effect does not require a T-scope. Perception & Psychophysics, 51(5), 473-484.Reicher, G. M. (1969).

Perceptual recognition as a function of meaningfulness of stimulus material. Journal of experimental psychology, 81(2), 275.Rumelhart, D. E., & McClelland, J. L. (1982). An interactive activation model of context effects in letter perception: II.

The contextual enhancement effect and some tests and extensions of the model. Psychological review, 89(1), 60.


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