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Neurosci Bull. 2018 Jun;34(3):517-526. doi: 10.1007/s12264-018-0220-z. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

Vernier But Not Grating Acuity Contributes to an Early Stage of Visual Word Processing.

Tan Y1,2,3, Tong X1,2,3, Chen W4, Weng X1,2,3, He S5,6, Zhao J7,8,9.

Author information

1
Institutes of Psychological Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, 311121, China.
2
Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Research in Assessment of Cognitive Impairments, Hangzhou, 311121, China.
3
Center for Cognition and Brain Disorder, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, 311121, China.
4
Objects and Knowledge Laboratory, New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, 129188, UAE.
5
State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China.
6
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA.
7
Institutes of Psychological Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, 311121, China. zhaojing561@126.com.
8
Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Research in Assessment of Cognitive Impairments, Hangzhou, 311121, China. zhaojing561@126.com.
9
Center for Cognition and Brain Disorder, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, 311121, China. zhaojing561@126.com.

Abstract

The process of reading words depends heavily on efficient visual skills, including analyzing and decomposing basic visual features. Surprisingly, previous reading-related studies have almost exclusively focused on gross aspects of visual skills, while only very few have investigated the role of finer skills. The present study filled this gap and examined the relations of two finer visual skills measured by grating acuity (the ability to resolve periodic luminance variations across space) and Vernier acuity (the ability to detect/discriminate relative locations of features) to Chinese character-processing as measured by character form-matching and lexical decision tasks in skilled adult readers. The results showed that Vernier acuity was significantly correlated with performance in character form-matching but not visual symbol form-matching, while no correlation was found between grating acuity and character processing. Interestingly, we found no correlation of the two visual skills with lexical decision performance. These findings provide for the first time empirical evidence that the finer visual skills, particularly as reflected in Vernier acuity, may directly contribute to an early stage of hierarchical word processing.

KEYWORDS:

Grating acuity; Vernier acuity; Visual skill; Visual word processing

PMID:
29589216
PMCID:
PMC5960456
DOI:
10.1007/s12264-018-0220-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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