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Reading and recognising acronyms: Insights from behavioural, electrophysiological and neuropsychological investigations. / David Ross Playfoot

Swansea University Author: David Ross Playfoot

Abstract

This thesis examined the processes involved in reading and recognising acronyms (e.g. BBC, HIV, NATO). Normative values for frequency, age of acquisition, imageability, length, bigram and trigram frequency and orthographic neighbourhood size have been collected, and the influence of these factors on...

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Published: 2011
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa43197
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Abstract: This thesis examined the processes involved in reading and recognising acronyms (e.g. BBC, HIV, NATO). Normative values for frequency, age of acquisition, imageability, length, bigram and trigram frequency and orthographic neighbourhood size have been collected, and the influence of these factors on reading, recognition (Chapter 3) and word association responses (Chapter 4) has been assessed. Findings suggest that acronyms are integrated alongside words in the mental lexicon, and that meaning and phonology are particularly important in acronym processing. Chapter 5 extended these findings by investigating the performance of a patient with a specific deficit in semantic processing (semantic dementia). Some acronyms, specifically those which are pronounced by naming each letter in turn, were found to pose few problems for this patient even after her semantic system had been adversely affected by her disorder. Chapter 7 reported an event-related potential study of acronyms, with reference to the N170 and Recognition Potential components. The electrophysiological data supported the interpretation of acronyms as lexical, and particularly influenced by print to pronunciation factors. Findings of the thesis as a whole were discussed in relation to the Dual Route Cascaded model (Coltheart, Perry, Rastle, Langdon & Ziegler, 2001) and the Triangle model (Plaut, Seidenberg & Patterson, 1996). It was concluded that neither model could adequately accommodate acronym reading and recognition processes as they currently stand. Suggestions for amendments to word reading models were made. Potential future research directions are also discussed.
Keywords: Reading comprehension, acronyms
College: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences