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Sign language users read words and see signs simultaneously
Date:3/22/2011

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A total of 120 word pairs was divided into two groups of 60 word pairs that had either related or unrelated meanings. Of the related pairs, such as bird-duck, 14 also had similar signs while 16 of the unrelated word pairs had similar signs. In ASL, signs are considered related if they have similar hand shapes, locations, movements or orientations. The researchers added a number of randomly assigned word pairs to complete the test.

When the participants encountered word pairs and signs that were related, the reaction time was significantly faster and more accurate than the reaction of a control group made up of 15 bilingual speakers who spoke English as a second language.

When the word pairs were matched with unrelated signs, the participants' reaction time was slower and less accurate.

"You see interference," said Kroll. "The reaction isn't slowed down enough to cause issues in the day-to-day usage of the language, but there's a momentary gap in processing that indicates that the bilingual is not processing information like monolinguals."


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Contact: Matt Swayne
mls29@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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