The distinct contributions of age of acquisition and word frequency in auditory word perception
Smith, P. T., Turner, J. E., Brown, P. A. and Henry, L. A. (2006) The distinct contributions of age of acquisition and word frequency in auditory word perception. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59 (12). pp. 2121-2134. ISSN 1747-0218
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/17470210500438387
We report two studies of the distinct effects that a word's age of acquisition (AoA) and frequency have on the mental lexicon. In the first study, a purely statistical analysis, we show that AoA and frequency are related in different ways to the phonological form and imageability of different words. In the second study, three groups of participants (34 seven-year-olds, 30 ten-year-olds, and 17 adults) took part in an auditory lexical decision task, with stimuli varying in AoA, frequency, length, neighbourhood density, and imageability. The principal result is that the influence of these different variables changes as a function of AoA: Neighbourhood density effects are apparent for early and late AoA words, but not for intermediate AoA, whereas imageability effects are apparent for intermediate AoA words but not for early or late AoA. These results are discussed from the perspective that AoA affects a word's representation, but frequency affects processing biases.