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A Training Study using an Artificial Orthography: Effects of Reading Experience, Lexical Quality, and Text Comprehension in L1 and L2

Hart, Lesley Anne (2005) A Training Study using an Artificial Orthography: Effects of Reading Experience, Lexical Quality, and Text Comprehension in L1 and L2. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Text comprehension in adults is correlated with a number of other abilities including working memory span, inference making, and reading experience. There are fewer studies reporting correlations between lexical and sublexical skill and comprehension skill in adults. Comprehension skill in adults may constitute (1) a basic comprehension skill, like lexical skill, that drives the ability to construct representations of text and analyze them; (2) a more sensitive measure of lexical skill, for which it is difficult to measure sufficient variability in competent readers; or (3) a learned skill, derived from an individual's reading experience. Reading a greater quantity and more varied texts increases the size of the knowledge base, the efficiency with which information can be accessed, the likelihood that effective reading strategies will be developed, and with these the enjoyment of reading and the desire to read more. These possibilities are explored in this experiment. We developed sensitive tests of lexical skill and measured comprehension skill and lexical skill using multiple tests in a large number of college students. In order to determine the effect of lexical skill on comprehension skill we divided participants into groups based on both variables in a two by two design. Using an artificial orthography allowed us to control reading experience. Patterns of responses to homophones and nonhomophones and to high and low frequency words indicate that differences in lexical skill affect not only the extent and time course of lexical activation but also the direction of the effect. There is some evidence for an interaction with comprehension ability. Lexical skill affected speed of learning and degree of learning success. Comprehension skill affected the ability to use the artificial orthography in other tasks, including ERP tasks. Effects were not mediated by working memory, inferencing, or lexical skill, suggesting the influence of a basic comprehension skill and an ability to assess the needs of new tasks and adapt their performance appropriately. Both lexical and comprehension skill affected performance on tasks in English, suggesting an influence of reading experience.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hart, Lesley
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPerfetti, Charles A.perfetti@pitt.eduPERFETTI
Committee MemberReichle, Erik D.reichle@pitt.eduREICHLE
Committee MemberBeck, Isabelibeck@pitt.eduIBECK
Committee MemberSchneider, Walterwws@pitt.eduWWS
Date: 4 October 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 1 April 2005
Approval Date: 4 October 2005
Submission Date: 30 June 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: adult; artificial orthography; assessment development; college; comprehension; ERP; even-related potential; experience; frequency; homophone; lexical quality; lexical quality hypothesis; reading; response time; second language; sublexical; training
Other ID:, etd-06302005-140916
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:49
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:45


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