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Cognitive mechanism of writing to dictation of logographic characters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 August 2011

Beijing Normal University
Capital Medical University Rehabilitation College, China
Beijing Normal University
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Yanchao Bi, National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, People's Republic of China. E-mail:


The cognitive mechanisms for writing to dictation of Chinese syllables by healthy adults were investigated using large-sample multiple regression analyses. In the experiment, subjects wrote down a corresponding character upon hearing a syllable. We mainly examined the effects of three types of attributes (i.e., lexical, semantic, and phonology to orthography conversion [POC] ones) in predicting the production probability of specific characters out of the homophone families for target syllables. We observed significant effects for all three types of attributes, as well as interactions between POC and the lexical attributes, and between POC and the semantic attributes. We further found that the semantic effects vanished for the writing stimuli without homophones. A feedback procedure (i.e., phonetic radical transparency) was also observed to influence Chinese writing performances. Our results support the hypothesis that the extent of semantic involvement in writing (spelling) to dictation is influenced by the effectiveness of POC procedure in a certain language and/or word set. The existence of an interaction between the lexical semantic route and the POC route in writing is further consolidated.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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