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How does expertise contribute to the recognition of Latin and Chinese characters?

Dyson, M. C., Tam, K., Leake, C. and Kwok, B. (2016) How does expertise contribute to the recognition of Latin and Chinese characters? In: Dyson, M. C. and Suen, C. Y. (eds.) Digital fonts and reading. World Scientific , Singapore, pp. 193-208. ISBN 9789814759533

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Abstract/Summary

Are characters in writing systems (e.g. Latin or Chinese) perceived in the same way as objects or do we process characters in a different way? Previous research [Gauthier et al., 2006] has suggested that readers familiar with a writing system are able to take advantage of the stylistic regularities in typefaces, whereas those without this expertise cannot. The experiments described in this chapter explore whether a different form of expertise, acquired through design training, also affects our perception of unfamiliar characters, meaningless shapes if we cannot read the script. A comparison was made of Chinese bilinguals and English monolinguals and those with and without design expertise. All participants were asked to discriminate between strings of characters in both Latin and Chinese and in different typefaces. The results reveal that non-designers are more susceptible to interference from incongruent font information than designers, particularly in an unfamiliar, or less familiar, writing system. However, design expertise appears to facilitate the abstraction of the character shapes from the stylistic variations. These results were found in UK students and not the more fluent bilingual students in Hong Kong suggesting the need for further exploration of the effects of different types and levels of expertise on character recognition.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:66589
Uncontrolled Keywords:Reading expertise, Chinese, Latin, Fonts, Letter recognition, Character recognition, Font tuning
Publisher:World Scientific

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