Development of children’s automatic word-processing: A re-examination

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Developmental studies suggest that by second grade, children demonstrate the process of automatic extraction of meaning from printed words. In previous studies response time was used to test this information-processing mechanism. It is argued that response time is an inappropriate measure to study the process developmentally. The present research therefore employed a Stroop-type recall test. Two hundred and forty subjects, representing second, third, and fourth graders, and college students, were tested in three experimental conditions. The task was to recall the items on lists of six colored Xs, or six color words, or six color words printed in incongruent colors. In all age groups, color words were recalled better than printed colors. These results, obtained with a more appropriate methodology, confirm that after one year of training and practice with reading material, children automatically extract the meaning from a single printed word. Contrary to previous findings, younger children did not demonstrate a higher degree of word interference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1980

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1. This study was supported by a grant from the Research Committee, The University of Haifa. Ronit Shoam's assistance is deeply appreciated. Requests for reprints should be sent to Abraham Sagi, School of Social Work, University of Haifa, Haifa 31999, Israel.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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