How are letters containing diacritics represented? Repetition blindness for Turkish words

Aycicegi A., Harris C.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, vol.14, no.3, pp.371-382, 2002 (SSCI) identifier identifier


When two orthographically similar words are displayed using rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), the repeated letters in the second critical word (W2) are not detected, leading to a deficit in reporting this word known as repetition blindness (RB). In Turkish, letters containing diacritic markings (e. g., s x, o) are considered separate letters, yet are visually highly similar to their non-diacritic analogues (s, o). Two experiments used the phenomenon of RB to investigate whether diacritic letters are represented as more similar to their non-diacritic analogues than are two unrelated letters. In Experiment 1, substantially more RB was found for words differing in just a diacritic (isim-isim) compared to orthographic neighbours (words differing in a visually non-similar letter, such as ilim-isim). In Experiment 2, the amount of RB for identical words (isim-isim) was comparable to words that differed by a single diacritic marking (isim-isim). We conclude that diacritic letters are mentally represented as variants of their non-diacritic analogue. Letter/word recognition researchers may be interested in pursuing these findings using standard techniques such as backward masking and orthographic priming.