Word Superiority Effect

The word superiority effect (WSE) refers to the phenomenon that people can easier recognize letters presented within words as compared to isolated letters and to letters presented within nonword (orthographically illegal, unpronounceable letter array) strings. The effect was first described by Cattell (1886), and later contributions came from Reicher (1969) and Wheeler (1970).

Source:

Chase, C. H. and Tallal, P.: 1990, ‘A developmental, interactive activation model of the word superiority effect’, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 49, 448-487