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  Language-mediated visual orienting behavior in low and high literates

Huettig, F., Singh, N., & Mishra, R. K. (2011). Language-mediated visual orienting behavior in low and high literates. Frontiers in Psychology, 2: e285. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00285.

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This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.
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Huettig, Falk1, 2, 3, Author              
Singh, Niharika4, Author
Mishra, Ramesh K.4, Author
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1Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, External Organizations, ou_55236              
2Coordination of Cognitive Systems, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, Nijmegen, NL, ou_745545              
3Individual Differences in Language Processing Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, ou_792545              
4Centre of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad, India, India , ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: attention, eye movements, literacy, phonological processing, semantic processing
 Abstract: The influence of formal literacy on spoken language-mediated visual orienting was investigated by using a simple look and listen task (cf. Huettig & Altmann, 2005) which resembles every day behavior. In Experiment 1, high and low literates listened to spoken sentences containing a target word (e.g., 'magar', crocodile) while at the same time looking at a visual display of four objects (a phonological competitor of the target word, e.g., 'matar', peas; a semantic competitor, e.g., 'kachuwa', turtle, and two unrelated distractors). In Experiment 2 the semantic competitor was replaced with another unrelated distractor. Both groups of participants shifted their eye gaze to the semantic competitors (Experiment 1). In both experiments high literates shifted their eye gaze towards phonological competitors as soon as phonological information became available and moved their eyes away as soon as the acoustic information mismatched. Low literates in contrast only used phonological information when semantic matches between spoken word and visual referent were impossible (Experiment 2) but in contrast to high literates these phonologically-mediated shifts in eye gaze were not closely time-locked to the speech input. We conclude that in high literates language-mediated shifts in overt attention are co-determined by the type of information in the visual environment, the timing of cascaded processing in the word- and object-recognition systems, and the temporal unfolding of the spoken language. Our findings indicate that low literates exhibit a similar cognitive behavior but instead of participating in a tug-of-war among multiple types of cognitive representations, word-object mapping is achieved primarily at the semantic level. If forced, for instance by a situation in which semantic matches are not present (Experiment 2), low literates may on occasion have to rely on phonological information but do so in a much less proficient manner than their highly literate counterparts.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 201120112011-10-28
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
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 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00285
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Title: Frontiers in Psychology
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 2 Sequence Number: e285 Start / End Page: - Identifier: -