Doctor of Philosophy
Lupker, Stephen J.
Although there are theories of word recognition/reading predicting a transposed letter (TL)-type effect in Chinese character recognition, specifically, a transposed radical (TR) effect, no empirical demonstrations of TR effects have been reported to this point. As a result, instead of adopting a position-general assumption of radical processing, a position-specific assumption of radical processing has been adopted in most Chinese character recognition models. In the present Experiment 1, computational models were created in order to determine whether models that do not make the position-general assumption can account for any TR effect if one were to be found. In Experiment 2, 3, and 4, the masked priming technique was used to investigate whether there are TR priming effects in Chinese character recognition, as well as whether such effects would interact with radical type (character radical vs non-character radical) or character structure (left-right vs top-bottom). Experiment 2 used the lexical decision task (LDT) and Experiment 3 and 4 used the presumably more orthographically oriented same-different matching task (SDMT). Event-related potentials (ERPs) were analysed in Experiment 2 and 3 in order to better examine the time course of any effects. The results of Experiment 1 showed that computational models can produce TL-type effects, but only if trained with orthographic inputs that follow the position-general view of radical processing. Experiments 2 and 3 (using left-right structure characters) showed that TR priming effects do emerge in LDT and SDMT tasks. In the SDMT task, the ERP data showed that the TR effect emerged in a slightly later time window than the repetition priming effect, implying that the TR effect was produced at the orthographic processing stage rather than at an earlier feature processing stage or a later semantic processing stage. In Experiment 4, the TR effect was found to have a different pattern for top-bottom structure characters than for the left-right structure characters of Experiments 2 and 3, indicating an impact of character structure. These results provide support for the position-general view of radical representation, the noisy position coding models of orthographic processing, and the idea that position flexibility of orthographic representations and their processing are shaped by the language environment of the reader.
Summary for Lay Audience
This dissertation was an examination of the orthographic processing of Chinese radicals, specifically, how readers process radical positions when reading Chinese characters. There are theories that predict that there should be a transposed radical (TR) effect (i.e., if you transpose the two radicals in a character, the recognition system perceives it as being extremely similar to the original character) arising at the orthographic stage of character recognition (i.e., this proposal is referred to as the “position-general” view). However, at present, no empirical demonstrations of TR effects have been reported even though there have been clear demonstrations of transposed character (TC) effects. Most models of Chinese reading, therefore, incorporate the assumption that radical position coding is tied to the radical’s position as it appears in the text being read (i.e., the “position-specific” view). In order to examine this issue more closely and to provide more solid evidence for one or the other of these views, the present experiments were an investigation of whether there actually is a TR effect in Chinese character recognition. In Experiment 1, computational models were built to demonstrate that the position-general view of radicals can predict a TR effect, whereas the position-specific view cannot. In Experiment 2, 3, and 4, various techniques (e.g., the masked priming and the event-related potential techniques) and tasks (i.e., the lexical decision task and the same-different matching task) were used to try to determine whether there actually is a TR effect (arising at the orthographic processing stage of character recognition) and to determine the time course of that potential effect. The results showed that there are TR effects in Chinese character recognition, and that the source of these TR effects is likely the orthographic processing stage, instead of the earlier feature processing stage or the later semantic processing stage. These results provide support for the position-general view of radical representation and for the various theories that predict a TR effect.
Chi, Zian, "The Coding Flexibility of Radical Position in Chinese" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8994.
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