What Is the Difference Between OASIS and OPERA? Roughly Five Pixels: Orthographic Structure Biases the Perceived Length of Letter Strings
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Description: PUBLISHED STUDY. A thorough understanding of monosyllabic-word-recognition processes, in contrast with multisyllabic-word processing, has accumulated over the past decades. One fundamental challenge regarding multisyllabic words concerns their parsing into smaller units and the nature of the cues determining the parsing. We propose that the organization of consonant and vowel letters provides powerful cues for parsing, and we present data from a new task showing that a word’s orthographic structure, as determined by the number of vowel-letter clusters, influences estimations of its length. Words were briefly presented on a computer screen, and participants had to estimate word length by drawing a line on the screen with the mouse. In three experiments, participants estimated words comprising fewer orthographic units as shorter than words comprising more units even though the words matched for number of letters. Further results demonstrated that the length bias was driven by orthographic information and not by phonological structure.