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Reading response latencies in Spanish: effects of lexicality and frequency


Micaela Difalcis, Aldo Ferreres, Natalia Osiadacz, Valeria Abusamra



The aim of this work was to design and apply a test of reading words and non-words

(PaNoPa) to study the response latencies in Spanish-speaking subjects. A single

previous study had reported such effects but the test used did not control lexical

variables (number and frequency of orthographic neighbors) or sublexical variables

(frequency of bigram and initial phonemes) that are important for the correct analysis of

latencies. The study of effects of lexicality and frequency in control participants is

relevant for the discussion on the universality of psycholinguistic reading models and

also for the characterization of reading disorders due to brain lesions (acquired dyslexia)

in Spanish-speaking subjects. With an exhaustively controlled test, reading latencies

were obtained in a sample of Spanish-speaking readers and an ANOVA analysis was

carried out by subject and by type of stimulus. The results showed significantly lower

latencies for words with respect to non-words (lexicality effect) and for frequent words

regarding infrequent words (frequency effect). A significant difference was also found

between the latencies of the infrequent words and the non-words. These findings

provide evidence in favor of the existence of a lexical reading route in a transparent

language such as Spanish and provide a tool and data for the psycholinguistic study of

the reading alterations of Spanish-speaking subjects with acquired dyslexia.


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