Jonathan Grainger


Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive,
Aix Marseille University,
Marseille, France








Selected references: experiments on orthographic processing

Okano, K., Grainger, J., & Holcomb, P. J. (2013). An ERP investigation of visual word recognition in syllabary scripts. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 390-404.
Notes: The bimodal interactive-activation model has been successfully applied to understanding the neurocognitive processes involved in reading words in alphabetic scripts, as reflected in the modulation of ERP components in masked repetition priming. In order to test the generalizability of this approach, in the present study we examined word recognition in a different writing system, the Japanese syllabary scripts hiragana and katakana. Native Japanese participants were presented with repeated or unrelated pairs of Japanese words in which the prime and target words were both in the same script (within-script priming, Exp. 1) or were in the opposite script (cross-script priming, Exp. 2). As in previous studies with alphabetic scripts, in both experiments the N250 (sublexical processing) and N400 (lexical-semantic processing) components were modulated by priming, although the time course was somewhat delayed. The earlier N/P150 effect (visual feature processing) was present only in "Experiment 1: Within-script priming", in which the prime and target words shared visual features. Overall, the results provide support for the hypothesis that visual word recognition involves a generalizable set of neurocognitive processes that operate in similar manners across different writing systems and languages, as well as pointing to the viability of the bimodal interactive-activation framework for modeling such processes

Chanceaux, M. & Grainger, J. (2012). Serial position effects in the identification of letters, digits, symbols, and shapes in peripheral vision. Acta Psychologica (Amsterdam), 141, 149-158.
Notes: Three experiments measured serial position functions for character-in-string identification in peripheral vision. In Experiment 1, random strings of five letters (e.g., P F H T M) or five symbols (e.g., lambda capital BE, Cyrillic Thorn Psi yen) were briefly presented to the left or to the right of fixation, and identification accuracy was measured at each position in the string using a post-cued two-alternative forced-choice task (e.g., was there a T or a B at the 4th position). In Experiment 2 the performance to letter stimuli was compared with familiar two-dimensional shapes (e.g., square, triangle, circle), and in Experiment 3 we compared digit strings (e.g., 6 3 7 9 2) with a set of keyboard symbols (e.g., % section sign @ < ?). Eye-movements were monitored to ensure central fixation. The results revealed a triple interaction between the nature of the stimulus (letters/digits vs. symbols/shapes), eccentricity, and visual field. In all experiments this interaction reflected a selective left visual field advantage for letter or digit stimuli compared with symbol or shape stimuli for targets presented at the greatest eccentricity. The results are in line with the predictions of the modified receptive field hypothesis proposed by Tydgat and Grainger (2009), and the predictions of the SERIOL2 model of letter string encoding
Aix-Marseille University, 13331 Marseille Cedex3, France.

Grainger, J., Lopez, D., Eddy, M., Dufau, S., & Holcomb, P. J. (2012). How word frequency modulates masked repetition priming: an ERP investigation. Psychophysiology, 49, 604-616.
Notes: The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to provide precise temporal information about the modulation of masked repetition priming effects x word frequency during the course of target word recognition. Contrary to the pattern seen with behavioral response times in prior research, we predicted that high-frequency words should generate larger and earlier peaking repetition priming effects than low-frequency words in the N400 time window. This prediction was supported by the results of two experiments. Furthermore, repetition priming effects in the N250 time window were found for low-frequency words in both experiments, whereas for high-frequency words these effects were seen only at the shorter (50 ms stimulus onset asynchrony [SOA]) used in Experiment 2, and not in Experiment 1 (70 ms SOA). We explain this pattern as resulting from reset mechanisms operating on the form representations activated by prime stimuli when primes and targets are processed as separate perceptual events
Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Aix-Marseille University & Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-CNRS, Marseille, France.

Grainger, J., Lete, B., Bertand, D., Dufau, S., & Ziegler, J. C. (2012). Evidence for multiple routes in learning to read. Cognition, 123, 280-292.
Notes: We describe a multiple-route model of reading development in which coarse-grained orthographic processing plays a key role in optimizing access to semantics via whole-word orthographic representations. This forms part of the direct orthographic route that gradually replaces phonological recoding during the initial phases of reading acquisition. The model predicts distinct developmental trajectories for pseudo-homophone and transposed-letter effects - two benchmark phenomena associated with phonological recoding and coarse-grained orthographic processing, respectively. Pseudo-homophone effects should decrease over the first years of reading acquisition, whereas transposed-letter effects should initially increase. These predictions were tested in a lexical decision task with 334 children in grades 1-5, and 29 skilled adult readers. In line with the predictions, we found that the pseudo-homophone effect diminished as reading level increased, whereas the transposed-letter effect first increased and then diminished
Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, CNRS and Aix-Marseille Universite, 3 place V. Hugo, 13331 Marseille, France.

Grainger, J. & Ziegler, J. C. (2011). A dual-route approach to orthographic processing. Front.Psychol., 2, 54.
Notes: In the present theoretical note we examine how different learning constraints, thought to be involved in optimizing the mapping of print to meaning during reading acquisition, might shape the nature of the orthographic code involved in skilled reading. On the one hand, optimization is hypothesized to involve selecting combinations of letters that are the most informative with respect to word identity (diagnosticity constraint), and on the other hand to involve the detection of letter combinations that correspond to pre-existing sublexical phonological and morphological representations (chunking constraint). These two constraints give rise to two different kinds of prelexical orthographic code, a coarse-grained and a fine-grained code, associated with the two routes of a dual-route architecture. Processing along the coarse-grained route optimizes fast access to semantics by using minimal subsets of letters that maximize information with respect to word identity, while coding for approximate within-word letter position independently of letter contiguity. Processing along the fined-grained route, on the other hand, is sensitive to the precise ordering of letters, as well as to position with respect to word beginnings and endings. This enables the chunking of frequently co-occurring contiguous letter combinations that form relevant units for morpho-orthographic processing (prefixes and suffixes) and for the sublexical translation of print to sound (multi-letter graphemes)
Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Aix-Marseille University Marseille, France

Massol, S., Midgley, K. J., Holcomb, P. J., & Grainger, J. (2011). When less is more: feedback, priming, and the pseudoword superiority effect. Brain Research, 1386, 153-164.
Notes: The present study combined masked priming with electrophysiological recordings to investigate orthographic priming effects with nonword targets. Targets were pronounceable nonwords (e.g., STRENG) or consonant strings (e.g., STRBNG), that both differed from a real word by a single letter substitution (STRONG). Targets were preceded by related primes that could be the same as the target (e.g., streng-STRENG, strbng-STRBNG) or the real word neighbor of the target (e.g., strong-STRENG, strong-STRBNG). Independently of priming, pronounceable nonwords were associated with larger negativities than consonant strings, starting at 290ms post-target onset. Overall, priming effects were stronger and longer-lasting with pronounceable nonwords than consonant strings. However, consonant string targets showed an early effect of word neighbor priming in the absence of an effect of repetition priming, whereas pronounceable nonwords showed both repetition and word neighbor priming effects in the same time window. This pattern of priming effects is taken as evidence for feedback from whole-word orthographic representations activated by the prime stimulus that influences bottom-up processing of prelexical representations during target processing
Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive (LPC), CNRS et Universite de Provence, Bat. 9, Case D, 3, place Victor Hugo, 13331 MARSEILLE Cedex 3, France.

Grainger, J., Rey, A., & Dufau, S. (2008). Letter perception: from pixels to pandemonium. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 381-387.
Notes: DA - 20080923
In 1959, Oliver Selfridge proposed a model of letter perception, the Pandemonium model, in which the central hypothesis was that letters are identified via their component features. Although a consensus developed around this general approach over the years, key evidence in its favor remained lacking. Recent research has started to provide important evidence in favor of feature-based letter perception, describing the nature of the features, and the time-course of processes involved in mapping features onto abstract letter identities. There is now hope that future 'pandemonium-like' models will be able to account for the rich empirical database on letter identification that has accumulated over the past 50 years, hence solving one key component of the reading process
CNRS and Aix-Marseille University, Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Universite d'Aix-Marseille I, 3 place Victor Hugo, 13331 Marseille, France.

Welvaert, M., Farioli, F., & Grainger, J. (2008). Graded effects of number of inserted letters in superset priming. Exp.Psychol., 55, 54-63.
Notes: Three masked priming experiments investigated the effects of target word length and number of inserted letters on superset priming, where irrelevant letters are added to targets to form prime stimuli (e.g., tanble-table). Effects of one, two, three, and four-letter insertions were measured relative to an unrelated prime condition, the identity prime condition, and a condition where the order of letters of the superset primes was reversed. Superset primes facilitated performance compared with unrelated primes and reversed primes, and the overall pattern showed a small cost of letter insertion that was independent of target word length and that increased linearly as a function of the number of inserted letters. A meta-analysis incorporating data from the present study and two other studies investigating superset priming, showed an average estimated processing cost of 11 ms per letter insertion. Models of letter position coding are examined in the light of this result

Holcomb, P. J. & Grainger, J. (2006). On the time course of visual word recognition: an event-related potential investigation using masked repetition priming. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 1631-1643.
Notes: Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.
The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine the time course of visual word recognition using a masked repetition priming paradigm. Participants monitored target words for occasional animal names, and ERPs were recorded to nonanimal critical items that were full repetitions, partial repetitions, or unrelated to the immediately preceding masked prime word. The results showed a strong modulation of the N400 and three earlier ERP components (P150, N250, and the P325) that we propose reflect sequential overlapping steps in the processing of printed words

Carreiras, M., Ferrand, L., Grainger, J., & Perea, M. (2005). Sequential effects of phonological priming in visual word recognition. Psychological Science, 16, 585-589.
Notes: Two masked priming experiments were conducted to examine phonological priming of bisyllabic words in French, and in particular, whether it operates sequentially or in parallel. Bisyllabic target words were primed by pseudowords that shared either the first or the second phonological syllable of the target. Overlap of the first syllable only-not the second-produced facilitation in both the lexical decision and the naming tasks. These findings suggest that, for polysyllabic words, phonological codes are computed sequentially during silent reading and reading aloud

Grainger, J. & Whitney, C. (2004). Does the huamn mnid raed wrods as a wlohe? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 58-59.
Notes: J. Grainger, LPC-CNRS, University of Provence, 13621 Aix-en-Provence

Grainger, J., Bouttevin, S., Truc, C., Bastien, M., & Ziegler, J. (2003). Word superiority, pseudoword superiority, and learning to read: a comparison of dyslexic and normal readers. Brain and Language, 87, 432-440.
Notes: Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Universite de Provence, 29 Av. Robert Schuman, 13621 Aix-en-Provence, France.
Identification of letters embedded in briefly presented words (e.g., TABLE), pseudowords (e.g., TOBLE), and illegal nonwords (e.g., TPBFE) was measured using the Reicher-Wheeler paradigm. Children diagnosed as dyslexic and showing a clear disadvantage in recognizing and reading aloud words and pseudowords (compared to chronological age-matched controls) showed a pattern of results that was qualitatively identical to both reading age and chronological age control children. In all three groups a small nonsignificant advantage was obtained for letter identification in words compared to pseudowords, and a massive advantage for letter identification in pseudowords compared to illegal nonwords. A group of adult participants tested with the same materials showed the classic word superiority effect as well as a pseudoword advantage over illegal nonwords. These results suggest that the pseudoword superiority effect is subtended by regularities operating at the level of sublexical orthographic representations (orthotactic constraints). This phenomenon could provide a useful tool for future investigations of the development of orthotactic constraints during reading acquisition

Grainger, J. & Jacobs, A. M. (1996). Orthographic processing in visual word recognition: a multiple read-out model. Psychological Review, 103, 518-565.
Notes: Centre de Recherche en Psychologie Cognitive, Universite de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France. or A model of orthographic processing is described that postulates read-out from different information dimensions, determined by variable response criteria set on these dimensions. Performance in a perceptual identification task is simulated as the percentage of trials on which a noisy criterion set on the dimension of single word detector activity is reached. Two additional criteria set on the dimensions of total lexical activity and time from stimulus onset are hypothesized to be operational in the lexical decision task. These additional criteria flexibly adjust to changes in stimulus material and task demands, thus accounting for strategic influences on performance in this task. The model unifies results obtained in response- limited and data-limited paradigms and helps resolve a number of inconsistencies in the experimental literature that cannot be accommodated by other current models of visual word recognition

Ferrand, L. & Grainger, J. (1992). Phonology and orthography in visual word recognition: evidence from masked non-word priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology A,Human Experimental Psychology, 45, 353-372.
Notes: AD: C.N.R.S., Paris, France AB: Three lexical decision experiments in French investigated the effects of briefly presented forward-masked non-word primes on latencies to phonologically and/or orthographically related targets. At 64-msec prime presentation durations, primes that are pseudohomophones of the target produced facilitatory effects compared to orthographic controls, but these orthographically similar non-word primes did not facilitate target recognition compared to unrelated controls. These results were obtained independently of target word frequency and independently of the presence or absence of pseudohomophone targets in the experimental lists. With a 32-msec prime duration, on the other hand, pseudohomophone and orthographic primes had similar effects on target recognition, both producing facilitation relative to unrelated controls. The results are discussed in terms of the time course of phonological and orthographic code activation in the processing of pronounceable strings of letters




Jonathan Grainger

in Copenhagen,

May 2013








Anders Gade