In typical readers, orthographic knowledge has been shown to influence phonological decisions. In the present study, we used visual rhyme and spelling tasks to investigate the interaction of orthographic and phonological information in adults with varying reading skill. Word pairs that shared both orthography and phonology (e.g., throat/boat), differed in both orthography and phonology (e.g., snow/arm), shared only orthography (e.g., farm/warm), and shared only phonology (e.g., vote/boat) were visually presented to university students who varied in reading ability. For rhyme judgment, participants were slower and less accurate to accept rhyming pairs when words were spelled differently and to reject non-rhyming pairs when words were spelled similarly. Similarly, for spelling judgments, participants were slower and less accurate when indicating that word endings were spelled differently when words rhymed, and slower and less accurate when indicating that words were spelled similarly when words did not rhyme. Crucially, while these effects were clear at the group level, there were large individual differences in the extent to which participants were impacted by conflict. In two separate samples, reading skill was associated with the extent to which orthographic conflict impacted rhyme decisions such that individuals with better nonword reading performance were less impacted by orthographic conflict. Thus, university students with poorer reading skills may differ from their peers either in the reading strategies they use or in the degree to which they automatically access word form information. Understanding these relationships is important for understanding the roles that reading processes play in readers of different skill.
Welcome, Suzanne and Alton, Amanda, "Individual Differences in the Effect of Orthographic/Phonological Conflict on Rhyme and Spelling Decisions" (2015). Psychology Faculty Works. 36.