Does letter rotation slow down orthographic processing in word recognition?
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Perea, M., Marcet, A. & Fernández-López, M. Psychon Bull Rev (2018) 25: 2295. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-017-1428-z
Leading neural models of visual word recognition assume that letter rotation slows down the conversion of the visual input to a stable orthographic representation (e.g., local detectors combination model; Dehaene, Cohen, Sigman, & Vinckier, 2005, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 335–341). If this premise is true, briefly presented rotated primes should be less effective at activating word representations than those primes with upright letters. To test this question, we conducted a masked priming lexical decision experiment with vertically presented words either rotated 90° or in marquee format (i.e., vertically but with upright letters). We examined the impact of the format on both letter identity (masked identity priming: identity vs. unrelated) and letter position (masked transposed-letter priming: transposed-letter prime vs. replacement-letter prime). Results revealed sizeable masked identity and transposed-letter priming effects that were similar in magnitude for rotated and marquee words. Therefore, the reading cost from letter rotation does not arise in the initial access to orthographic/lexical representations.