Do alternating-color words facilitate reading aloud text in Chinese? Evidence with developing and adult readers
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Perea, M. & Wang, X. Mem Cogn (2017) 45: 1160. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-017-0717-0
Prior research has shown that colors induce perceptual grouping and, hence, colors can be used as word dividers during reading (Pinna & Deiana, 2014). This issue is particularly important for those writing systems that do not employ interword spaces (e.g., Chinese). The rationale is that alternating colors across words in these scripts may facilitate the process of word identification without altering the spatial distribution of text. Here, we tested whether color alternation across words produces a benefit in a reading-aloud task in native speakers of Chinese. Participants had to read two texts: one with color alternation across words and the other with mono-color words. Experiments 1 and 2 were conducted with adult readers, whereas Experiment 3 was conducted with developing readers (Grade 2 children). Results showed that color information facilitated reading aloud a text for adult readers—restricted to texts containing technical, unfamiliar words (Experiment 2)—and developing readers. We examined the implications of these findings in the context of literacy and vocabulary training.