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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2008 May;34(3):643-61. doi: 10.1037/0278-7393.34.3.643.

Feedback consistency effects in visual and auditory word recognition: where do we stand after more than a decade?

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Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, CNRS, UMR 6146, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France.


The role of phonology-to-spelling consistency (i.e., feedback consistency) was investigated in 3 lexical decision experiments in both the visual and auditory modalities in French and English. No evidence for a feedback consistency effect was found in the visual modality, either in English or in French, despite the fact that consistency was manipulated for different kinds of units (onsets and rimes). In contrast, robust feedback consistency effects were obtained in the auditory lexical decision task in both English and French when exactly the same items that produced a null effect in the visual modality were used. Neural network simulations are presented to show that previous demonstrations of feedback consistency effects in the visual modality can be simulated with a model that is not sensitive to feedback consistency, suggesting that these effects might have come from various confounds. These simulations, together with the authors' results, suggest that there are no feedback consistency effects in the visual modality. In contrast, such effects are clearly present in the auditory modality. Given that orthographic information is absent from current models of spoken word recognition, the present findings present a major challenge to these models.

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