Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Cognitive Science of Language


Elisabet Service




The ability to rapidly and continuously update phonological representations is critical to skilled reading. Denkla and Rudel (1976) first reported Rapid Naming impairments in poor readers, leading to a wide body of evidence supporting the Rapid Naming task as a reliable predictor of reading success. Despite a well-established correlation between Rapid Naming performance and reading achievement, the factors driving this relationship remain unclear. The present study was an exploratory investigation of the role of articulatory planning in Rapid Naming performance. Specifically, we explored the effects of phonological similarity and word length of the items to-be-named in the Rapid Naming task. Naming times were measured in 30 Undergraduate students with typical reading ability, and 10 poor reading high school students completing the standard Rapid Naming task, as well tasks manipulated for phonological similarity and word length. The results showed that phonologically similar words generated significantly longer naming times than the standard Rapid Naming task for both typical and poor readers. This finding suggests that when phonological representations are similar, it creates competition for the rapid updating of representations during motor planning for naming. Additionally, 3-syllable items for typical readers and 2-and 3-syllable items for poor readers produced significantly longer naming times than the standard Rapid Naming task, suggesting that larger phonological representations also create competition in motor planning. The results of the preset study suggest that phonological similarity and word length have a similar influence on Rapid Naming ability in typical and poor readers.

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