metadata only access
This study addresses the question of whether it is possible to read a word for meaning without phonological mediation. The task was semantic categorization. Participants decided whether or not each target word belonged to the category “words with definable meanings” (e.g., PLANK, PINT) or the category “given names” (e.g., TRENT, PAM). To test phonological mediation, latencies to respond to regular definable words (e.g., PLANK) and irregular definable words (e.g. PINT) were compared. No regularity effect was observed, despite these same words showing a difference in a naming task. Thus the semantic task was shown to be insensitive to a phonological effect. The possibility that the long response times of the semantic categorization task washed out any regularity effect was dismissed on the grounds that both a word frequency effect and a letter transposition effect (e.g., CLUE vs CALM, cf. CLAM) were observed using this task. It is concluded that phonological mediation is not a prerequisite for semantic access.