Language-universal and script-specific factors in the recognition of letters in visual crowding: The effects of lexicality, hemifield, and transitional probabilities in a right-to-left script

Adi Shechter, Sivan Medina, David L. Share, Amit Yashar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Peripheral letter recognition is fundamentally limited not by the visibility of letters but by the spacing between them, i.e., ‘crowding’. Crowding imposes a significant constraint on reading, however, the interplay between crowding and reading is not fully understood. Using a letter recognition task in varying display conditions, we investigated the effects of lexicality (words versus pseudowords), visual hemifield, and transitional letter probability (bigram/trigram frequency) among skilled readers (N = 14. and N = 13) in Hebrew – a script read from right to left. We observed two language-universal effects: a lexicality effect and a right hemifield (left hemisphere) advantage, as well as a strong language-specific effect – a left bigram advantage stemming from the right-to-left reading direction of Hebrew. The latter finding suggests that transitional probabilities are essential for parafoveal letter recognition. The results reveal that script-specific contextual information such as letter combination probabilities is used to accurately identify crowded letters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-329
Number of pages11
JournalCortex
Volume171
Early online date20 Nov 2023
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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