In the process of word recognition, the encoding of letter identity and letter location information plays a vital role. Many English studies found that the letter location information is more flexible than letter identity information. And context predictability has a different effect on letter location and identity information. Chinese word consists of meaningful morpheme, so the encoding of Chinese character identity and location information may have different features from English letter. In present study, we discussed the effect and the time course of predictability on the encoding of Chinese character identity and location information.
In order to explore the morpheme processing, the present study recruited 20 students as participants in experiment 1, and instructed them to do the lexical decision task. We used 5 types of word (original word, transposed non-word, initial substituted non-word, final substituted non-word and unmeaning symbol) as prime words when the prime time is 80 ms, 150 ms and 300 ms. We collected reaction time as the index. We found that the effect caused by transposed non-word is significant from that caused by original word under 80 ms and 300 ms prime condition, but it is opposite under 150 ms condition.
To study the morpheme processing in sentence, 50 participants took part in experiment 2, and was instructed to read high predictability and low predictability sentences. Each sentence included a different target word of 4 conditions which is original word(OR), transposed non-word (TN), first substituted (FS) non-word and end substituted (ES) non-word. The participation’s eye movement was recorded by EyeLink1000 during reading process. The results showed that the TN condition is not significant with FS and ES condition under high-predictability, but it is opposite under low-predictability.
To explore the time course of encoding of Chinese character location and identity information, we used the same materials as experiment 2 and manipulated parafoveal target word delay time for 0ms, 50 ms and 100 ms. We found that TN condition and OR condition are quite similar when the previewing is 0 ms, and the TN condition is analogy with FS and ES condition when the previewing is 50 ms and 100 ms.
On the whole, the data of the present study suggested that the encoding of Chinese character identity information and location information are separated. When Chinese words presented alone, the effect of location information is gradually reduced with the processing time increase. In sentence reading, location information is more flexible at the early stage in parafoveal processing. High predictability can promote the encoding of location information at early stage, and promote the encoding of identity information at later stage.
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