The involvement of letter names in the silent processing of isolated letters: A developmental perspective

Paul Miller, Vered Vaknin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was designed to clarify the nature of the mental representations underlying the processing of letters. A total of 96 Hebrew readers randomly recruited from three levels of education were asked to make rapid same/different judgments for Hebrew letter dyads with monosyllabic and bisyllabic names. The results obtained from the performance of participants under perceptual and conceptual processing conditions suggest that Hebrew readers access nominal letter representations in order to mediate letter processing in tasks that cannot be resolved on the basis of a sheer perceptual analysis of the letters' visual properties. The finding that the retrieval of nominal letter representations was evident for participants who differed rather markedly in their letter-processing speeds highlights the central role of letter names in the processing of isolated letters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1276-1288
Number of pages13
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This manuscript was prepared with the support of the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2), National Science Foundation Grant SBE-0541953. The analyzed data were collected within an international reading project executed in collaboration with Tevhide Kargin (Ankara University), Christian Rathmann (Hamburg University), and Peter Hauser (Rochester Institute of Technology).


  • Letter names
  • Letter processing
  • Letter representations
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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