Phonological Activation During Visual Word Recognition in Deaf and Hearing Children

Ormel, Ellen; Hermans, Daan; Knoors, Harry; Hendriks, Angelique; Verhoeven, Ludo
August 2010
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2010, Vol. 53 Issue 4, p801
Academic Journal
Purpose: Phonological activation during visual word recognition was studied in deaf and hearing children under two circumstances: (a) when the use of phonology was not required for task performance and might even hinder it and ( b) when the use of phonology was critical for task performance. Method: Deaf children mastering written Dutch and Sign Language of the Netherlands were compared with hearing children. Two word-picture verification experiments were conducted, both of which included pseudohomophones. In Experiment 1, the task was to indicate whether the word was spelled correctly and whether it corresponded to the picture. The presence of pseudohomophones was expected to hinder performance only when phonological recoding occurred. In Experiment 2, the task was to indicate whether the word sounded like the picture, which now made phonological recoding essential in order to enable the acceptance of pseudohomophones. Results: The hearing children showed automatic activation of phonology during visual word recognition, regardless of whether they were instructed to focus on orthographic information (Experiment 1) or phonological information (Experiment 2). The deaf children showed little automatic phonological activation in either experiment. Conclusion: Deaf children do not use phonological information during word reading.


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