Record-based word recognition

Kim Kirsner, John Dunn, Peter Standen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we review research that has used transfer effects in repetition priming to examine recognition processes, and describe a theory of word recognition. The main features revealed by the review are as follows: (1) transfer between two words depends on the extent to which they share the same properties; (2) transfer is sensitive to a wide range of properties including surface form, morpho-phonemic similarity, and meaning; and (3) transfer is negatively correlated with attribute memory: Attributes that yield negligible transfer in word recognition (e.g. when FROMAGE is followed by CHEESE) yield reliable discrimination in attribute memory (i.e. people know how each word was presented), and vice versa. The theory incorporates aspects of the abstract and instance-based approaches. In contrast to the instance-based approach, extensive abstraction is assumed. And, in contrast to the abstract approach, information about lowlevel properties is not discarded, but makes contact with a detailed record of a particular instance. The theory assumes that: (1) information about surface and structural properties is formed and preserved in an hierarchically organised description of the current stimulus; (2) the description is referred to a qualitatively and quantitatively comparable record for identification; and (3) the structural description of the current stimulus defines an appropriate address in memory.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAttention and Performance XII
Subtitle of host publicationThe Psychology of Reading
EditorsMax Coltheart
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781317246992
ISBN (Print)9780863770845
Publication statusPublished - 1987


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