Age of acquisition affects early orthographic processing during Chinese character recognition

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Three experiments investigated age of acquisition (AoA) effects on early orthographic processing during Chinese character recognition. In Experiment 1, we measured the accuracy of identification of brief masked characters. accuracy was higher for early compared to late acquired characters. In Experiment 2. the visual duration threshold (VDT) was measured for both early and late acquired Chinese characters. The results showed that early acquired characters were successfully identified at shorter display durations than late acquired characters. Significant AoA effects were also found in Experiment 3, using a lexical decision task requiring mainly orthographic processing (discriminating real Chinese characters from orthographically illegal and unpronounceable characters). In summary, three experiments provide converging empirical evidence, for AoA effects on the early orthographic processing stages of Chinese character recognition. These results suggest that AoA effects during word identification go beyond the phonological or semantic processing stages. These results aslo provide cross-linguistic evidence for an AoA effect on early perceptual processing during identification. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-203
Number of pages8
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


  • Chinese character, Visual duration threshold, Age of acquisition