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A comparison of letter and digit processing in letter-by-letter reading

  • JANET L. INGLES (a1) (a2) and GAIL A. ESKES (a2) (a3)

Abstract

The extent to which letter-by-letter reading results from a specific orthographic deficit, as compared with a nonspecific disturbance in basic visuoperceptual mechanisms, is unclear. The current study directly compared processing of letters and digits in a letter-by-letter reader, G.M., using a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task and a speeded matching task. Comparisons were made to a group of six brain-damaged individuals without reading deficits. In the RSVP task, G.M. had increased difficulty reporting the target identities when they were letters, as compared with digits. Although this general pattern was also evident in the control group, the magnitude of the letter–digit accuracy difference was greater in G.M. Similarly, in the matching task, G.M. was slower to match letters than digits, relative to the control group, although his response times to both item types were increased. These data suggest that letter-by-letter reading, at least in this case, results from a visuoperceptual encoding deficit that particularly affects letters, but also extends to processing of digits to a lesser extent. Results are consistent with the notion that a left occipitotemporal area is specialized for letter processing with greater bilaterality in the visual processing of digits. (JINS, 2008, 14, 164–173.)

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Janet Ingles, School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, 5599 Fenwick Street, Halifax, NS, B3H 1R2, Canada. E-mail: janet.ingles@dal.ca

References

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Keywords

A comparison of letter and digit processing in letter-by-letter reading

  • JANET L. INGLES (a1) (a2) and GAIL A. ESKES (a2) (a3)

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