Word Superiority Effect


The word superiority effect (WSE) refers to a phenomenon where it can be demonstrated that people can more easily recognize letters presented within words as compared to isolated letters and to letters presented within non-word (orthographically illegal, unpronounceable letter array) strings. The effect was first described by Cattell (1886), and later contributions came from Reicher (1969) and Wheeler (1970).


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