September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Interference between holistic processing of English and Chinese words
Author Affiliations
  • Vince Ngan
    Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Terri Ng
    Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Yetta Wong
    Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong
  • Alan Wong
    Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 915. doi:
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      Vince Ngan, Terri Ng, Yetta Wong, Alan Wong; Interference between holistic processing of English and Chinese words. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):915.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Holistic processing refers to the obligatory tendency to process objects as a whole rather than parts. It has been suggested to be a common potential marker for perceptual expertise across domains, including faces, cars, chessboards, musical notes, words, etc. However, whether there is an overlap in the underlying mechanisms for holistic processing across some of these domains remain unknown. In our study, we aimed to address this gap by examining the interference between holistic processing of Chinese characters and that of English words in Chinese-English bilinguals, using a paradigm similar to the one in Gauthier et al. (2003) and Boggan et al. (2012). We measured holistic processing of Chinese characters, as indicated by the congruency effect in a composite paradigm, and how this was affected by holistic processing of English words. Two-part Chinese words and four-letter English words were alternately presented in each block. Participants had to attend only to the left or right part of the words, and make a two-back judgment on whether the attended part of the current word was identical to that of the last word of the same writing system (Chinese or English). If holistic processing is more engaged in perceiving English words with aligned letters than words with misaligned letters, and if it competes for common resources with holistic processing of Chinese characters, then the congruency effect for Chinese characters should be reduced when embedded in aligned vs. misaligned English words. This English alignment by Chinese congruency interference was found, indicating interference between Chinese and English holistic processing. Such interference is unlikely to have a verbal locus, since throughout each block participants had to repeat aloud eight numbers for subsequent matching (verbal suppression). Overall, the findings indicate that there is a shared holistic processing mechanism for words in different writing systems.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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