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      Morphological Processing as We Know It: An Analytical Review of Morphological Effects in Visual Word Identification


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          The last 40 years have witnessed a growing interest in the mechanisms underlying the visual identification of complex words. A large amount of experimental data has been amassed, but although a growing number of studies are proposing explicit theoretical models for their data, no comprehensive theory has gained substantial agreement among scholars in the field. We believe that this is due, at least in part, to the presence of several controversial pieces of evidence in the literature and, consequently, to the lack of a well-defined set of experimental facts that any theory should be able to explain. With this review, we aim to delineate the state of the art in the research on the visual identification of complex words. By reviewing major empirical evidences in a number of different paradigms such as lexical decision, word naming, and masked and unmasked priming, we were able to identify a series of effects that we judge as reliable or that were consistently replicated in different experiments, along with some more controversial data, which we have tried to resolve and explain. We concentrated on behavioral and electrophysiological studies on inflected, derived, and compound words, so as to span over all types of complex words. The outcome of this work is an analytical summary of well-established facts on the most relevant morphological issues, such as regularity, morpheme position coding, family size, semantic transparency, morpheme frequency, suffix allomorphy, and productivity, morphological entropy, and morpho-orthographic parsing. In discussing this set of benchmark effects, we have drawn some methodological considerations on why contrasting evidence might have emerged, and have tried to delineate a target list for the construction of a new all-inclusive model of the visual identification of morphologically complex words.

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          Most cited references121

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          Orthographic processing in visual word recognition: a multiple read-out model.

          A model of orthographic processing is described that postulates read-out from different information dimensions, determined by variable response criteria set on these dimensions. Performance in a perceptual identification task is simulated as the percentage of trials on which a noisy criterion set on the dimension of single word detector activity is reached. Two additional criteria set on the dimensions of total lexical activity and time from stimulus onset are hypothesized to be operational in the lexical decision task. These additional criteria flexibly adjust to changes in stimulus material and task demands, thus accounting for strategic influences on performance in this task. The model unifies results obtained in response-limited and data-limited paradigms and helps resolve a number of inconsistencies in the experimental literature that cannot be accommodated by other current models of visual word recognition.
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            Lexical storage and retrieval of prefixed words

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              Rules of language

              S Pinker (1991)

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychology
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Research Foundation
                12 July 2012
                : 3
                : 232
                [1] 1MoMo Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca Milan, Italy
                Author notes

                Edited by: Jon Andoni Dunabeitia, Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Spain

                Reviewed by: Dirk Koester, Bielefeld University, Germany; Lisa D. Sanders, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA

                *Correspondence: Simona Amenta, MoMo Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca, P.zza dell’Ateneo Nuovo, 1-20126 Milan, Italy. e-mail: simona.amenta@ 123456unimib.it

                This article was submitted to Frontiers in Language Sciences, a specialty of Frontiers in Psychology.

                Copyright © 2012 Amenta and Crepaldi.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

                : 24 February 2012
                : 19 June 2012
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 144, Pages: 12, Words: 12653
                Review Article

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                benchmark effects,computational models,eye-tracking,response times,morphological processing,erps,visual identification


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