Evaluating a split fovea model of visual word recognition: Effects of case alternation in the two visual fields and in the left and right halves of words presented at the fovea

A. W. Ellis, J. Brooks, M. Lavidor

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Two experiments are reported exploring the effect of cAsE aLtErNaTiOn on lexical decisions to words and nonwords presented laterally or centrally. In line with previous research, Experiment 1 found that case alternation slowed lexical decision responses to words more in the right visual field (RVF) than in the left visual field (LVF). In Experiment 2, the words and nonwords were all presented centrally. There were three conditions, a condition in which the word and nonwords were presented in lower case letters, a condition in which the letters to the left of the central fixation were case alternated (e.g., aMbItion, mOdLants) and a condition in which the letters to the right of fixation were case alternated (e.g., collApSe, pireNtOl). Alternating the case of letters to the right of fixation slowed lexical decision responses more than alternating letter case to the left of fixation. The results provide further support for a split fovea account of visual word recognition according to which those letters of a centrally-fixated word that fall to the left of fixation are processed initially by the right cerebral hemisphere while those letters that fall to the right of fixation are processed initially by the left cerebral hemisphere, with the characteristics of the left and right hemispheres being revealed in the processing of initial and final letters in centrally presented words.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1128-1137
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Case alternation
  • Hemispheres
  • Lexical decision
  • Mixed case
  • Split fovea

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