The goal of the present study is to understand the role orthographic and semantic information play in the behavior of skilled readers. Reading latencies from a self-paced sentence reading experiment in which Russian near-synonymous verbs were manipulated appear well-predicted by a combination of bottom-up sublexical letter triplets (trigraphs) and top-down semantic generalizations, modeled using the Naive Discrimination Learner. The results reveal a complex interplay of bottom-up and top-down support from orthography and semantics to the target verbs, whereby activations from orthography only are modulated by individual differences. Using performance on a serial reaction time (SRT) task for a novel operationalization of the mental speed hypothesis, we explain the observed individual differences in reading behavior in terms of the exploration/exploitation hypothesis from reinforcement learning, where initially slower and more variable behavior leads to better performance overall.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
|Early online date
|6 Apr 2017
|Published - 1 Nov 2017