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Sentence Context Effects on Word Processing among Third-to-Sixth Grade Children in Honduras

Sergio Ramon Leiva Cardona, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


It has long been suggested that contextual facilitation effects (hereafter, context effects) reflect the interaction between the construction of an internal representation of context and the processing of a semantically related word (Kuperberg & Jaeger, 2016; Stanovich, 1980). Listening and reading studies have constantly replicated the findings that individuals’ processing of a word with a predictable context is faster and more accurate that of an unpredictable context (Huettig & Mani, 2016; Rayner & Well, 1996). Moreover, reading studies show that, compared to skilled readers, less-skilled readers rely heavily on context to recognize words due to weaknesses in reading skills (Stanovich, 1984). In the current study, 177 third-to-sixth-grade children in Honduras were administered a sentence listening task and a sentence reading task and were assessed on their reading and cognitive skills. The main goal was to examine the presence of context effects and whether these effects vary as a function of reading and cognitive skills. The results indicated the presence of robust contextual facilitation effects on both reaction times and accuracy in both listening and reading. Reaction time data showed that, although the difference between reading and listening was larger for unpredictable words, the facilitation prompted by predictable contexts reduced the processing cost between reading and listening. In addition, the magnitude of context effects on reaction time diminished with development. Accuracy data revealed that less skilled readers showed larger context effects than skilled readers, and this seems to be related to lower reading and cognitive skills. Collectively, these findings indicated that less-skilled readers rely on context more than skilled readers to process words. Findings are discussed in the context of theoretical accounts on language processing and comprehension, as well as the context of the interactive-compensatory model of reading.

Subject Area

Special education

Recommended Citation

Leiva Cardona, Sergio Ramon, "Sentence Context Effects on Word Processing among Third-to-Sixth Grade Children in Honduras" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI29167601.