Ageing and the Misperception of Words: Evidence from Eye Movements during Reading.
journal contributionposted on 07.11.2016, 17:18 by Kayleigh L. Warrington, Sarah J. White, Kevin B. Paterson
Research with lexical neighbours (words that differ by a single letter while the number and order of letters is preserved) indicates that readers frequently misperceive a word as its higher frequency neighbour (HFN) even during normal reading (Slattery, 2009). But how this lexical influence on word identification changes across the adult lifespan is largely unknown, although slower lexical processing and reduced visual abilities in later adulthood may lead to an increased incidence of word misperception errors. In particular, older adults may be more likely than younger adults to misidentify a word as its HFN, especially when the HFN is congruent with prior sentence context, although this has not been investigated. Accordingly, to address this issue, young and older adults read sentences containing target words with and without an HFN, where the HFN was either congruent with prior sentence context or not. Consistent with previous findings for young adults, eye movements were disrupted more for words with than without an HFN, especially when the HFN was congruent with prior context. Crucially, however, there was no indication of an adult age difference in this word misperception effect. We discuss these findings in relation to the nature of misperception effects in older age.