Individual readers vary greatly in the quality of their lexical representations and consequently in how quickly and efficiently they can access orthographic and lexical knowledge. This variability may be explained, at least in part, by individual differences in exposure to printed language, as practice at reading promotes the development of stronger reading skills. The current eye-tracking experiment tests the hypothesis that the efficiency of word recognition during reading improves with increases in print exposure by determining whether the magnitude of the repetition priming effect is modulated by individual differences in scores on the Author Recognition Test (ART). Lexical repetition of target words was manipulated across pairs of unrelated sentences that were presented on consecutive trials. The magnitude of the repetition effect was modulated by print exposure in early measures of processing, such that the magnitude of the effect was inversely related to scores on the ART. The results show that low levels of print exposure, and thus lower-quality lexical representations, are associated with high levels of difficulty recognizing words and thus with the greatest room to benefit from repetition. Further, the interaction between scores on the ART and repetition suggests that print exposure is not simply an index of general reading speed, but rather higher levels of print exposure are associated with an enhanced ability to access lexical knowledge and recognize words during reading.

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Copyright © 2017 Psychonomic Society, Inc. Article first published online: December 2017.

DOI: 10.3758/s13423-017-1248-1

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Full citation:

Lowder, Matthew W., and Peter C. Gordon. "Print Exposure Modulates the Effects of Repetition Priming during Sentence Reading." Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 24, no. 6 (December, 2017): 1935-1942.