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The effect of exposure to orthographic information on spelling

Dixon, M. (1997). The effect of exposure to orthographic information on spelling. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Exposure to incorrect and correct orthographic information has been reported to reduce and enhance, respectively, subsequent spelling accuracy. The aim of this thesis is to explore this effect of exposure to fresh orthographic information to some depth, and to gain insight into how spellings may be represented within the orthographic lexicon.

The first experiment sought to establish the effect as a reliable phenomenon, and, in conjunction with Experiments 2 and 3, to explore the role of a number of variables in the effect. The effect was found to be independent of level of proficiency of the speller, obtaining in both good and poor spellers. It was long-lasting, being evident at both immediate and one-week delayed testing. It occurred across both matching and non-matching conditions at study and test. The combined results of the these first three experiments indicate an implicit and item-specific process of priming underlying the effect. Experiment 4 highlighted the role of phonology in lexical access by demonstrating that the detrimental effect of exposure to a misspelling was dependent on the misspelling preserving phonological accuracy of the target lexical item. Experiment 5, introducing reaction time as an index of spelling performance, suggested, albeit tentatively, that the effect obtains even in words which are simple to spell. Experiment 6, extending the investigation of the exposure effect to children, found that the effect was not comparable to that in adults either in terms of pattern or of mediating processes.

At a theoretical level the findings indicate that fresh orthographic information is assimilated implicitly, altering an existing representation in the spelling lexicon and thence affecting subsequent spelling accuracy.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > PE English
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Dixon thesis 1997 PDF-A.pdf]
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