White in Cognitive Brown bag Thurs 9/9 at noon

Alex White will give a talk on visual word recognition in Cognitive Brown bag over zoom on Thursday, 9/9 at noon. Below is the abstract and zoom information. Everyone is welcome!

A bottleneck for visual word recognition in brain and behavior

Reading is a demanding task, constrained by inherent processing capacity limits. Do those capacity limits allow for multiple words to be recognized in parallel? I will first present a series of behavioral experiments that measured accuracy for recognizing briefly flashed and masked words. The question is: when given the amount of time required to recognize one word, can people divide attention and recognize two words simultaneously?  We consistently found that accuracy was so impaired that it supported a serial processing model: on each trial, subjects could recognize one word but had to guess about the other. We concluded that a fundamental bottleneck allows only one word to be fully processed at a time. I will then present a neuroimaging study designed to identify the source of that bottleneck, focusing on two sub-regions of the “visual word form area,” a critical component of the brain’s reading circuitry. The data suggest that the posterior sub-region can encode two words in parallel spatial channels. In contrast, activity in the anterior portion of the visual word form area is consistent with a bottleneck. Therefore, the visual system can process two words in parallel up to a relatively late stage in the recognition hierarchy. I look forward to discussion with the audience about what implications these results have for theories of reading.

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Meeting ID: 974 8907 4821
Passcode: PBScog