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Understanding Howes and Solomon’s Word Frequency Effect Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 May 2017

Understanding Howes and Solomon’s Word Frequency Effect

The research paper tackles about the effects of word frequency as based on the research works of Howes and Solomon in 1951. A brief background about word frequency effect connotes the concept of recognition via repetition. Certain psychological and mental functions are easily developed using the technique of repetition. If the things that we see and those sounds that we hear occur continuously for number of repetitions, this promotes the brain’s adaptive mechanism. The study is also based on various concepts of language recognition, such as visual or auditory. Understanding Howes and Solomon’s Word Frequency Effect

Introduction The study of word frequency connotes the varying effects of recognition. The basis of such research is the explicit ability of human brain to easily grab the meaning or understand the language upon exposure to repetitive situations. Have you ever tried reading a sentence of ten times? After that, even without reading you already know or even memorize the whole sentence. This evident phenomenon is known as the Word Frequency Effect (Altman, 2002, p. 473). Word frequency effect has been linked to psychological adaptation to the particular stimuli being introduced.

The brain adapts to the continuous entry of visual or linguistic perceptions; this action produces the means of recognition. The study about this concept has first started in the hands or Howes and Solomon dated back 1951. According to the Altman (2002), there has been a distinct link between what they eyes can perceive and what the person says. This frequent joint mechanism triggers recognition. Adding more to that is the increased accuracy and rapidness produced by frequent word reading or hearing (p. 474). The scope of the study shall focus on the most important details found in the study and link its significance in psychology.

Guided by the basic definitions and support studies of word frequent effects, the research paper will answer the following queries: a. Determine the essential points in the concept of word frequency and discuss its link to the methodology considering various contributing factors from the subjects. b. Identify the methodology used in the experiment and discuss significant relationships and analysis Methodology Based on the research done by Howes and Solomon (1951), the main intervention that is used in the data gathering is “Threshold Experiment” accompanied by Tachistoscopical aid.

The main problem in the experiment is the relationship between word probability and the speed of recognition (p. 401). Sample language, English in particular, is needed and the experiment revolved in series of controlled conditions. The data assessment is done by observation of units of typical communicative behavior. The observations derived are in the form of time and expressed through the use of functions of any measurable behavioral units (p. 401). The entire methodology used in the study revolved with the use of Tachitoscope and Fluorescent lamp.

The basic strategy in this experiment is the brief exposure of the subjects in particular words. Another, conflicting factor is the absence of pattern in the words being revealed to the subject, however these words seemingly repeat itself due to some close similarities between the word structures. The exposure is very brief and since, fluorescent lamp is used to hide and reveal the wording, such case is indeed possible. As the word’s brief exposure appears, the subject is instructed to try to distinguish the flashed words.

The repetitions are mainly dependent in the subject’s ability to perceive. Gradually, the duration is being increased to suit the adaptive capacity of the subject (p. 402). Continuous repetitions of exposure are being done until the subject’s recognition manifests. In this scenario, the time frame of pre-recognition and post-recognition is assessed (p. 402-403). The methodological process revolved into two experimental methods. Experiment I makes use 60 varying words. These words are being flashed one by one and the subject is instructed to determine the flashed words.

The threshold is being monitored as the client figures out the words. If in case the first exposure of a word is identified instantly, it is then placed in the DO threshold value since, the length and time frame of exposure outcome is already impossible to estimate (p. 403). Experiment II involves the uncontrolled factors that have been forced upon in the previous experiment. Unlike in the latter experiment wherein 60 words are used, in this experiment only 15 words are supposed to be used. This experiment tests possible error of experiment I due doubt of inaccuracy.

This method involves the almost the same principle however, more complicated and longer words are being supplied in this method (p. 404). The word length varies from six to twelve letters. There are strong associations of words that interrelates many forms, however various limitations are also assessed such as the inability to perceived plural word with -ing correctly. Strong words however, are those such as synonyms, which induces pattern similarities with appropriate words in the tachitoscopic list. In an example give, the probability of the word lawyer might be raised by the spontaneous exposure of the word barrister (p. 406).

Free Understanding Howes and Solomon’s Word Frequency Effect Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 19 May 2017

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