English Words Are Processed Like Objects

Abstract

This experiment sought to explore the theory that familiar English words are processed similarly to objects. To do this, we looked for object-based attentional facilitation where cues in a different location to the target still facilitate target detection as long as they are inside the same object. Participants were shown two English words in an array, and cues and targets were embedded inside them. Reaction times for target detection were measured. It was found that in horizontally presented English words, cues presented in a different location to the target still facilitated target detection if they occurred inside the same word. This was not the case for vertically oriented words. It was concluded that familiar words in a familiar orientation are indeed processed in a similar way to objects. These findings may be indicative that the cortical networks that evolved for object processing are also involved in the processing of words.


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