Objects and Words

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN)

Excerpts of different RAN tasks | MPRG REaD
© MPI fuer Bildungsforschung

In the Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) task, participants are asked to name a row of digits, letters, colors, symbols or objects as fast as they can. There are two forms of RAN testing. Usually all items are displayed at the same time. If every item is displayed isolated the testing is defined as discrete. Measures for the task are the time the participants need to complete naming all items and how many errors they make. In discrete testing the reaction time is also measured for every single displayed item. Among scientists there is no general agreement about the exact cognitive processes measured with Rapid Automatized Naming. However, there is consensus about the RAN task being a very good predictor of reading skills. A big advantage of the RAN task is that it is also suitable for children who are not yet able to read.

Masked Priming

Mased Priming | Research Group REaD
© MPI fuer Bildungsforschung

The masked priming paradigm makes use of the phenomenon that words which are presented very shortly are perceived unconsciously. That is, the word cannot be reported afterwards, but is nevertheless processed. It can thus influence the processing of a word presented shortly thereafter. In masked priming experiments, a prime word is presented for a few milliseconds on the computerscreen. Subsequently, the word to be read by the participant, the so-called target word is shown. The prime word usually constitutes a manipulated version of the target word. Such a manipulation might be the transposition of two letters in the word, e.g. “raed” for “read”. The participant’s task is to either read aloud the target word (Naming) or to decide whether it is a real word or not (Lexical Decision Task). The accuracy and speed of the reaction to the target word is measured. Different types of primes alter the reaction times in distinct ways.

Lexical Decision Task (LDT)

Lexical Decision Task | Research Group REaD
© MPI fuer Bildungsforschung

The Lexical Decision Task is a paradigm commonly used in experimental psychology to assess single word processing. Participants are asked to decide as quickly as possible whether a letter string displayed on a computer screen is a real word or a pseudoword. The speed and accuracy of such decisions is used to draw conclusions on the mental representation and access of lexical information. An example for a finding that has been replicated many times is the so-called frequency effect, which describes that frequently used words are processed faster than words that are used less often. Furthermore, the lexical decision task can be combined well with other paradigms, e.g. Masked Priming, by displaying more than one stimulus.

Naming Task

Naming Task | Research Group REaD
© MPI fuer Bildungsforschung

Similar to the Lexical Decision Task the Naming Task is based on single words displayed on a computer screen, which participants are asked to read out loud correctly and as quickly as possible. In addition to pronunciation errors, the time of voice onset (Naming Onset) as well as the time that is needed to pronounce the whole word (Naming Duration) are measured. This way, the duration of processing, which describes the lexical access in the mental lexicon, and the speed of reading, which varies significantly with the length of a word, can be assessed separately.