Effect of number of syllables in visual word recognition: new insights from the lexical decision task
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Description: PUBLISHED STUDY. A thorough knowledge regarding monosyllabic word reading has been accumulated over decades, which contrasts with our understanding of polysyllabic word processing. One reason why modelling of polysyllabic word reading is lagging behind might be related to the issue of orthographic segmentation, parsing requiring the integration of two types of information, the number of units to be extracted and boundaries between these units. In the present study, we focussed on the effect of number of syllables, and we compared lexical decision latencies in French words and pseudowords as a function of syllabic length (two vs. three graphosyllables). An effect was found in pseudowords, low-frequency words and high-frequency words, items with three syllables being processed more slowly than items with two syllables. We discuss what processes of current models of visual word recognition may underlie this effect, and based on previous studies and analyses on word mega corpus, we propose a new interpretation of the effect in terms of number of orthographic vowel-centred units.