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"Goth clowns" or "cloth gowns"? Understanding the basis of between-word reading errors

posted on 2024-04-18, 05:50 authored by Camila Batista Peixoto

Reading requires numerous word-level cognitive processes to successfully take place. Among them are the ones of orthographic-visual analysis, which include the ‘binding’ of letters to the word they occur in. A malfunction of this process may generate between-word reading errors, as in reading CLOTH GOWNS as “goth clowns”. Most of the existing knowledge on letter-to-word binding comes from the examination of these between-word reading errors in the few case studies of selective letter-to-word binding deficits, called attentional dyslexia. Thus, the nature of these abilities remain largely unexplored. This thesis aimed to examine the evidence on letter-to-word binding, comprehensively describe between-word errors made by English typical and atypical developing readers, and provided the first reports of selective attentional dyslexia among English-speakers.

To this end, this thesis comprises two articles. In the first, we provide a literature review on letter-to-word binding and between-word errors characteristics. In the second, we present an empirical study that identified and extensively described the nature of these errors in a sample of 113 English-speaking primary school children, grouped as typical and atypical readers. Between-word errors were classified by letter operation, as substitutions (e.g., COAT GOAL read as “coat goat”), intrusions (e.g., LENS SHARE as “lens shares”), elbowings (e.g., TORCH MASK as “torch mars”), and omissions (e.g., STAY STING as “stay sing”), using an automated error classification system. Error variations by word pair orientation, letter position, and operation direction were also examined. Finally, our third aim pertained to where in the cognitive reading system between-word errors likely stemmed from. For this purpose, we explored the reading profile of children with a specific difficulty in reading word pairs, so-called attentional dyslexics. Replications of previous findings and new results are discussed in light of models of orthographic-visual analysis.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 "Goth clowns" or "cloth gowns"? Understanding the basis of between-word reading errors -- Chapter 2 Examining between-word errors in typical readers, atypical readers, and attentional dyslexics in English -- Ethics approvals

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Master of Research

Department, Centre or School

School of Psychological Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Saskia Kohnen

Additional Supervisor 1

Anne Castles


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




112 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 318019

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