Published On: 21/06/2000|Categories: 1998–2002, Vol.21 (2), Vol.21 (2000)|

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This paper reviews recent research on the effects of “orthographic neighbors” (i.e., words that can be created by changing one letter of the stimulus item, preserving letter positions, see Coltheart et al., 1977) on reading and laboratory word identification tasks. We begin this paper with a literature review on the two basic “neighborhood” effects (neighborhood size and neighborhood frequency). This review shows that the number of higher frequency neighbors is inhibitory in reading. We also examine the influence of orthographic structure in form- and repetition-priming effects, which again suggests that orthographic neighbors seem to play an inhibitory role in the selection process. Finally, we discuss the empirical evidence in the context of current models of visual word recognition and reading. Keywords: Orthographic neighborhood, lexical access, eye movements.

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