Processing of Written Words by Individuals With Prelingual Deafness The aim of this study was to elucidate how prelingual deafness affects the ability to process written words. An experiment designed to reveal possible differences in the word-processing strategies and efficiency of a sample of prelingually deafened students (n = 18; mean grade = 5.1) and a task-matched hearing control ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2004
Processing of Written Words by Individuals With Prelingual Deafness
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paul Miller
    University of Haifa, Israel
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2004
Processing of Written Words by Individuals With Prelingual Deafness
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 979-989. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/072)
History: Received October 24, 2002 , Revised May 12, 2003 , Accepted March 4, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 979-989. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/072)
History: Received October 24, 2002; Revised May 12, 2003; Accepted March 4, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 25

The aim of this study was to elucidate how prelingual deafness affects the ability to process written words. An experiment designed to reveal possible differences in the word-processing strategies and efficiency of a sample of prelingually deafened students (n = 18; mean grade = 5.1) and a task-matched hearing control group (n = 28; mean grade = 4.9) was conducted. The experiment was based on a research paradigm demanding the same/different categorization of physically (perceptually) or conventionally identical word pairs. To elucidate the nature of the word-processing strategy adopted by each group, word pairs varying within their phonological information (monosyllabic, bisyllabic) were used for stimulation. Unexpectedly, findings revealed that the abilities of the 2 participant groups to process written words were remarkably similar. This was true whether or not the processing of the word pairs required the referencing of linguistic knowledge for the mediation of their identicalness. Furthermore, there was no evidence that either of the 2 participant groups relied on phonological information for processing the stimuli. In general, the findings support a conclusion that the difficulties of prelingually deafened individuals with reading are not rooted in a deficient ability to process written words per se but reflect the absence of crucial (probably general as well as linguistic) knowledge as the basis for their final interpretation. The results further suggest that the phonological decoding of written words may not be a prerequisite for their efficient processing in working memory.

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