Three experiments assessed the contributions of age-of-acquisition (AoA) and frequency to visual word recognition. Three databases were created from electronic journals in chemistry, psychology and geology in order to identify technical words that are extremely frequent in each discipline but acquired late in life. In Experiment 1, psychologists and chemists showed an advantage in lexical decision for late-acquired/high-frequency words (e.g. a psychologist responding to cognition) over late-acquired/low-frequency words (e.g. a chemist responding to cognition), revealing a frequency effect when words are perfectly matched. However, contrary to theories that exclude AoA as a factor, performance was similar for the late-acquired/high-frequency and early-acquired/low-frequency words (e.g. dragon) even though their cumulative frequencies differed by more than an order of magnitude. This last finding was replicated with geologists using geology words matched with early-acquired words in terms of concreteness (Experiment 2). Most interestingly, Experiment 3 yielded the same pattern of results in naming while controlling for imageability, a finding that is particularly problematic for parallel distributed processing models of reading.
|Translated title of the contribution||Age of acquisition effects in visual word recognition: Evidence from expert vocabularies|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2004|