Developmental Science

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Volume 6 Issue 2 (April 2003), Pages 119-231

On the origins of age‐of‐acquisition effects in the perception of printed words (pages 143-150)


Children from different grades were tested in a lexical decision task. Word‐stimuli consisted of words acquired in their respective grades, and in grades previous to their own. The results showed that the proportion of errors for newly acquired words increased steadily with grade (i.e. first graders made fewer errors with words of grade one than fifth graders with words of grade five). However, the proportion of errors for words acquired in a given grade remained constant throughout the following grades (fifth graders made as many errors with words acquired in grade one as first graders did). These results indicate that the strong impact that age‐ or order‐of‐acquisition of words has on the way words will be recognized is in place at a very young age.

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